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Historic Kingston 






Kingston, Ontario. 

No. 5 

October, 1956 




No. 5 

Being the Transactions of the Kingston Historical Society for 1955-56 
Edited by George F. G. Stanley 



The Macaulay Family of Kingston, by Mrs. William Angus. 3 

(Delivered Oct. 20, 1955) 

The Civil Service when Kingston zvas the Capital of Canada, by 13 

Professor J. E. Hodgetts. 

(Delivered Nov. 23, 1955) 

Early Schools in Kingston, by F. P. Smith, Esq. 25 

(Delivered Feb. 22, 1956) 

A Clash in St. Paul's Churchyard by Professor R. A. Preston. 30 

(Delivered March 21, 1956) 


(1) Kingston Mechanics' Institute, 1834. 45 

(2) The Kingston Historical Society, 1893. 46 

(3) John Banner in Kingston, 1853-7. 48 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

- BY - 

Margaret Angus 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston is usually identified by its most 
prominent member, the Honourable John Macaulay, who was born in 
Kingston, October 17, 1792 and died in Kingston, August 10, 1857. His 
obituary listed him as : "Member of Legislative Council of Canada, for- 
merly Inspector General of Upper Canada, etc., etc., and one of the oldest 
residents of Kingston". The Macaulay house is at 203 King Street East, 
between Earl and Gore, in the middle of the block. There is an iron arrow- 
head fence with huge stone gateposts along the front walk and the main 
entrance is at the north side of the house — now an apartment house. 

The Macaulay family was one of the principal families of early King- 
ston, a United Empire Loyalist family, a merchant family with extensive 
land holdings, a family who made important contributions to the religious 
and political life of Canada. The story of any family, and certainly of this 
family, is also the story of the times in which they lived and of the people 
who made those times. The story of the Macaulays involves a network of 
family relationships which includes many prominent Kingston families and 
many outside of Kingston. The Kingston names familiar to many are : 
the Herchmers, the Marklands, the Kirbys, the Andersons, the Macpher- 
sons, Glasgows, Geddes and Kirkpatricks. 

The' Macaulay family story is not just family tradition. This story 
comes from the family prayer book where births, marriages and deaths 
were entered, plus. a record of vaccinations and contagious diseases. It 
comes also from gravestones, from parish registers, lists of the U.E.L., 
Loyalist Claims, Haldimand Papers, Court records, newspapers and, most 
important of all from the Macaulay papers in the Ontario Archives. 

The Macaulays were originally from Scotland but went to Ireland 
during the disturbances in Scotland. Robert Macaulay, the founder of the 
Kingston branch, was of the second generation born in Ireland. He was 
born in 1744 at Omagh, Ireland, and came to America in 1764 when he 
was twenty. A few years later two of his brothers joined him and a 
widowed sister came out some years later. 

By 1774 Robert Macaulay was at Willsbrough, on the west shore 
of Lake Champlain, engaged in the lumber trade. The account of his losses, 
given in his claim for compensation for losses in the American Revolution, 
states that he had a house 40 x 20 feet, a barn 30 x 20, two pairs oxen, four 
cows, three heifers, two calves, hay, wheat, peas, potatoes and corn, plus 
his lumbering business which included eight thousand staves. That was 
really quite an establishment. 

When General Arnold's army retreated from Canada to Lake Cham- 
plain, Robert Macaulay was taken prisoner, presumably in the late sum- 


The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

mer of 1776. Me was held for some time at Crown Point, on the western 
side of the lake ; he was later released and returned to his home. After that 
he gave information to the British regarding the garrison at Ticonderoga 
and was discovered, captured and taken as a prisoner to the Albany gaol. 
After six months he was released on hail and escaped to Canada. This 
probably was some time in 1778. Two years later, in 1780, he was estab- 
lished as a trader on Carleton Island, then an important military base. 

The Haldimand Papers list "sundry goods in possession of Robert 
Macauley (sic), Crleton Island, 20th April 1780: 

300 Gallons of Rum 

4 Quarter Casks port wine 

2 Bales Blankets 

1 Ditto Strouds 

1 Trunk Irish linen 

1 Ball course Cloth FOR 

2 Cwt. Tea INDIAN 
1 Bale Sundry Articles TRADE 
1 Cask Small Shott assorted 

1 Ditto Ball 

2 Barrels gunpowder 

1 Case containing 6 guns 

Robert Macaulay was also a Captain of the Associated Loyalists on 
Carleton Island according to Land Book records and the United Empire 
Loyalist list. As such he was granted 1200 acres of land. 

There is some reason to believe that after peace came he went back- 
to see what he could recover of his property, possibly in 1786 or 1787. It 
is family tradition that Robert Macaulay met Ann Kirby when he was 
over forty and she was sixteen; that would have been in 1786. But more 
of that later. 

Sometime after Robert Macaulay moved to Kingston — or Cataraqui, 
as it was called - - in the 1780's he formed a partnership with Thomas 
Markland to carry on a forwarding business. They had a storehouse and 
wharf at the foot of what is now Princess Street and thev owned various 
/ lands in common. Tn April 1788, according to a document in the Macaulay 
I Papers in the Ontario Archives, Macaulay and Markland contracted with 
Archibald Thomson to build a house for Sir John fohnson. It was to be 
finished before the last day of October and the specifications are carefully 
listed. The firm of Markland and Macaulay were also the collecting agents 
or subscriptions to build a church, St. Georges. The firm was dissolved 
in 1791 or 1792. 

A case about Markland and Macaulay came up in the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas of this district in 1790. This was the court for the recovery of 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

debts of over 10 pounds. Macaulay and Markland were suing James 
Connor for the recovery of £43.18. Connor said the charges were wrong 
and anyway Robert Macaulay owed him £50 for medical attendance. 
Markland replied the firm was not responsible for personal debts; how- 
ever, Robert Macaulay had a private account against Connor for a case 
of medicine. The court asked time to deliberate the merits of the case and 
ordered the parties to appear at the next sitting, four months later. 

At that time the firm said they had decided to include the accounts 
for and against Robert Macaulay in the case. The Court admitted the 
account and the case proceeded a few days later. Whereupon Markland 
produced Robert Macaulay's account against the defendent James Connor, 
for a box of medicine, charged £60. Connor said the medicine was not 
worth 60 shillings and that no specific price was agreed on by the parties 
when the said chest of medicine was delivered, which was not denied by 
Macaulay. Then Connor produced his account against Macaulay for med- 
icines and attendance in curing a broken leg, amounting to £50. 

Macaulay objected and said the charge was exhorbitant for the medi- 
cines and attendance Connor had given him. Various witnesses were called 
to uDhold the reasonableness of the ^charge. Joseph Forsyth had heard 
in Montreal of a man paying £50 for curing a broken leg. The Court re- 
quested the opinion of two professional men and called James Latham and 
James Gill, surgeons. Latham said he would have charged Macaulay £30. 
Gill said he had treated only soldiers so had no precedent but he would 
have charged £10 for each fracture, not including medicine. The Court 
awarded the plaintiff £13 6s 6d and the defendant had to pay the costs. 
That was in 1790. 

Early in 1791 Robert Macaulay rode back to Crown Point, New 
York. There on February 13th he married Ann Kirby in her father's house. 
Ann, the eldest daughter of John and Ann Kirby was born in Knares- 
borough, Yorkshire and came to America with her parents. She rode to 
Canada on a pillion behind her new husband, over the ice to Kingston. 

On August 17, 1783 Major Ross wrote to Haldimand that the three 
houses then being transported from Carleton Island to Kingston were "all 
that were worth removing from outside the fort". We may presume that 
one of those houses was the house Robert Macaulay rafted to Kingston 
and set up on one of his lots. The old house, altered and still in fair con- 
dition stood at the south west corner of Princess and Ontario Streets until 
it was torn down in 1928 to make way for a gas station. In that house three 
Macaulay children were born, John, William, and Robert junior. Robert 
Macaulay senior died there September first 1800, leaving his wife, Ann, 
then thirty, and three sons : John, eight ; William, six ; and Robert, four. 
The executors of his will were Ann Macaulay, Richard Cartwright and 
John Kirby, junior. Ann and her brother, John Kirby, carried on Robert's 

John Kirby, junior, had been in Kingston since before 1789. His name 
appears on a list of persons settling at Kingston between 1784 and 1789. 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

He may have come to Kingston with Robert Macaulay after 1786. The 
kirby "family was closely linked with the Macaulay family; for besides 
Robert Macaulav's marriage to Ann Kirby there was a second union of 
the families. Robert Macaulay's young sister Mary, whose husband a Mr. 
Xixon had died in London, came to Montreal with her son. George Nixon. 
He was sent to his uncles in New York and Mary Macaulay Nixon came 
to Kingston. She became |ohn Kirby's wife and doubly sister-in-law of 
Ann Kirby Macaulay. From family letters it would seem that Mary Kirby, 
who died of cholera in 1832 aged 14 vears, was the daughter of John Kirby 
and Mary Macaulay Nixon Kirby. Mrs. Kirby evidently died when her 
daughter was very young for John Kirby married in 1822 Cecelia Bethune, 
widow of W. B. Wilkinson. 

Two other members of the Kirby family came to Kingston probably 
to stay with Ann Kirby Macaulay. Elizabeth Kirby, nine years younger 
than Ann, was in Kingston in the 1790's and about 1799 was married to 
Lawrence Herchmer, merchant, of Kingston. That link with the Herchmer 
family gave the Macaulay boys seven first cousins and a host of other 
connections. Then there was Maria Kirby. thirteen years younger than 
Ann Macaulay, who came to Kingston to be with her widowed sister. She 
never married and died in Kingston in 1837, age 54. 

There is no doubt that, although Ann Macaulay was guided by her 
brother John Kirby, she kept a definite voice in the business and in the 
raising of her sons. The Macaulay letters in the Archives leave no doubt 
of that. 

John and William Macaulay went to school to a young man who had 
been brought from England in 1799 to teach the sons of the Honourable 
Richard Cartwright. That man was John Strachan, later Bishop of Toronto. 
When Strachan was ordained and opened an academy in Cornwall the 
Macaulay boys went there to school, as did many other boys who later be- 
came prominent men in Canada. 

When John Macaulav was about sixteen he was sent to Montreal to 
study under Peter McGill. McGill, advising John to learn French, sent 
him to Terrebonne to study with the Reverend Mr. Varin. A few years 
later, 1809, John was back in Kingston where arrangements had been made 
for him to be articled to Mr. Allan McLean, Lawyer. That was an impor- 
tant step in John Macaulay's career, for Allan McLean, said to be the first 
lawyer in Kingston, was a man already engaged in an active political life. 
He was a member of the Legislative Assembly and became Speaker of 
the House of Assembly. We may suppose that Allan McLean started the 
young Macaulay on his long career of government service. 

Meanwhile John Macaulay was becoming a young man of some im- 
portance in Kingston. He was postmaster of Kingston. He became agent 
for the Bank of Upper Canada. As a Justice of the Peace he took the de- 
positions in the famous burying ground dispute which upset Kingston in 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

the middle 1820's. He became a trustee of the Midland District Grammar 
School and served a term as Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions. 

For seven years John Macaulay owned and, part of that time, edited 
the Kingston Chronicle. A life-long friend of his said he operated the news- 
paper at the instance of Sir Peregrine Maitland." The Kingston Chronicle, 
outspoken as papers were in those days, was accused of libel by the Legis- 
lative Assembly in 1822. The Chronicle's report and comments on a dis- 
cussion in the House of Assembly regarding Bidwell's ouster as member 
for Lennox and Addington was called "a false, scandalous and malicious 
libel". The charge was dropped a few days later after the author of the 
article had acknowledged "the impropriety of conduct". From a letter in 
the Macaulay papers it would seem that the author in question was Thomas 
Dalton, then presumably editing the Chronicle for John Macaulay or 
writing for the Chronicle. 

In 1822 John Macaulay was appointed a Commissioner of Inland Navi- 
gation to look into canal routes. It is said his report was of service to 
Colonel By in planning the Rideau Canal. Macaulay served also as secre- 
tary to the Board of Arbitrators for the division of revenue between Upper 
and Lower Canada. He also served on a commission which made a tour of 
penitentiaries in the United States to report on their penal system. 

In 1828 John Macaulay was appointed Deputy Postmaster and two 
years later became cashier of the Bank of Upper Canada. 

What of the rest of the Macaulay family during these years ? William 
Macaulay had gone to The Queen's College, Oxford, and was ordained 
there but received no degree. In 1819 he was in Hamilton township ; a year 
later he was teaching school in the Newcastle district for £100 a year. It 
may have been this experience that prompted him to write some years later 
that he was not interested in a professorship "as it leads to nothing". 

An extract from the Macaulay letters gives an interesting character- 
ization of the Reverend William Macaulay. John wrote, "He has some 
great project on hand which he will, of course, as usual, abandon when 
found impracticable". In 1823 he became the rector at Picton and served 
there for forty seven years, covering a territory that extended at one time 
north to Peterborough. He married twice ; first, Ann Catherine Geddes 
and second, Charlotte, whose daughter Ann Macaulay married James S. 
Kirkpatrick. His parishioners remembered him with deep affection. 

Of the younger brother, Robert junior, very little appears in the family 
papers. He became a barrister. The Reverend William wrote to his mother 
in 1819, "I regret that Robert's conduct is such an affliction for the family". 
Robert's death is recorded in the prayer book, "Died at Kingston on Fri- 
day, 7th February 1823". 

Meanwhile Mrs. Ann Kirby Macaulay kept house for her son John 
in the old home at the corner of Princess and Ontario Streets. In 1833 
there was a change in this household, but the story really begins a number 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

of years before that. Four young men, David and John Macpherson, John 
Hamilton and John Macaulay, were talking about girls, as young men 
often do. The Macpherson brothers were talking about their sisters back 
in Scotland, especially Eliza. As a result of that conversation David Mac- 
pherson wrote to Eliza that there was a number of young men in the colony 
who could be considered gentlemen, who would be glad of a respectable 
Scottish wife. He suggested that Eliza might come to Canada to visit her 
brothers and meet the young men. Eliza by this time was married to James 
Mackenzie in Scotland but her sister Frances came out by the first packet 
in the spring and was married to ]ohn Hamilton at Queenston in April 

That marriage was so successful that John Macaulay suggested another 
sister might come to Canada. The engagement was evidently arranged by 
correspondence, and letters travelled slowly in those days. In September 
1833 John Macaulay was being congratulated on his engagement. In Oc- 
tober 1833 John Macaulay met Helen Macpherson as she stepped off the 
boat in Montreal and they were married at 8 a.m. The ceremony seems to 
have been repeated before the Reverend William Macaulay at Picton later 
that month. 

Early the next spring John's mother, an independent woman, decided 
she should have a house of her own. John's letters to his mother, visiting 
her son in Picton, and to his wife, visiting her brother in Montreal, go 
into great detail about the plans. They discussed whether Mrs. Ann Mac- 
aulay should build next to the old house on Ontario Street (which John 
and Helen were enlarging) or next to the Archdeacon Stuart cottage on 
Church Street (now King). There was already a house on the the latter 
place, an old wooden house built before 1800 and rented to a Mrs. Sterling 
who kept boarders. It, however, was on the Earl Street side near Ontario 
Street. In May 1834, a stone cottage, with the main entrance at the side 
was being built near the Archdeacon's cottage. It was called Knaresborough 
Cottage, after Ann Macaulay's birthplace. That cottage is the basis of the 
present house at 203 King East. 

In October 1834 Ann Elizabeth Mary was born to Helen and John 
Macaulay. The next twelve years were filled with family joys and with 
deep sorrow, with mounting family fortunes and with recognition of John 
Macaulay's increasing prominence' in the political life of Canada. 

John Macaulay became a Legislative Councillor of Upper Canada. 

He was appointed Surveyor General and wrote his mother that his office 

reminded him of the post office for as many people came to inquire about 

a " d . as used to com e to the. post office about letters. This appointment in 

! 836 meant that John had to move to Toronto. 

His mother went back to the old house, at Princess and Ontario, and 
trom there wrote to her son, "You thought vou had made this house a great 
cleal warmer by all the alterations you have made but I find it verv cold, 
the pitcher of water has froze (sic) on the wash stand everv dav and 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

night for some weeks past and in windy weather would blow out a candle 
in the dressing room. I think by cutting the roof to make those closets has 
made it much colder by letting in so much wind ; we keep the fires going 
constantly". The next year little Annie Macaulay was in Kingston with 
her grandmother who wrote: "Annie is full of tricks . . . hiding my spec- 
tacles and spilling my snuff and then hiding my punch box, as she calls 
it, under the carpets". 

John Macaulay, still concerned with family housing matters, wrote to 
his mother : "Do not make any but a conditional lease of the stone cottage 
to Mr. Forsyth or Mr. Watkins. The place as it stands and without any of 
the lot occupied by Mrs. Sterling should bring at least £65, the rent a 
poor return for the expenditure of £1300. If I return I see no reason why 
one household should not answer for all. I never felt satisfied at your 
living by yourself". In April 1837, Mrs. Ann Macaulay leased her stone 
cottage for five years to John Richardson Forsyth, at £50 for the first 
three years and £55 for the last two. 

The next year John wrote his mother that she should have a fireplace 
put in her bedroom while they were fixing the drawing room chimney. He 
also had heard of the spent musket ball that came through her drawing 
room at the end window. 

John Macaulay was Surveyor General during the rebellion troubles. 
A quotation from his obituary : "When the disturbances broke out in 1837 
he was among the first at Government House, having been early fore- 
warned and the last to lay down his arms after proceeding to meet the 
insurgents and assist in scattering them". In 1838 John Macaulay became 
civil and private seretary to Lieutenant Governor Sir George Arthur. The 
formal notification of his appointment was so long in coming from London 
that he asked the advice of his mother and of his uncle, John Kirby ; won- 
dering if he should retain his position as cashier of the Bank of Upper 
Canada and leave the government service, "gilded slavery" as he called 
it. His appointment came through in time to settle his mind in favour of 
staying in the government. While he was in that office, he issued a very 
comprehensive report on the duties and responsibilities of the civil and 
private secretary. That report was the basis for a readjustment of the 
duties of the office under Union. 

In 1838 John Macaulay was appointed Inspector General of Public 
Accounts. In that capacity he returned to Kingston in May 1841, when all 
public offices were ordered to Kingston, the first capital of United Canada. 
In the process of adjustment to union the Governor General, Lord Syden- 
ham, proposed that the Inspector General should have a seat in the Legis- 
lative Assembly — stand for election and be prepared to speak for his office. 
John Macaulay, staunch Tory that he was, said he could not make speeches 
and do the job properly; so he resigned in 1842. He had expected, in view 
qi his service, that he would be offered another post or be retired on a 
pension, as others had been. His applications met blank walls and his 
friends deplored the treatment given him. 

H) The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

In 1842 he presented his case to Sir Charles Bagot, then Governor 
General. Macaulay wrote a full memorandum of the meeting when he re- 
turned from Alwington House August 26th. It is preserved in the Mac- 
aulay papers in the Archives. Here are some extracts from the memoran- 
dum: "I called at Government House at eleven and waited in the room 
of Captain [ones for some time until Mr. Secretary Harrison had tran- 
sacted business with his Excellency. On entering the room occupied by Sir 
Charles, His Excellency shook hands with me and motioning me to a seat 
said I was just the person he wished to see." John Macaulay was pleased 
at the cordial greeting and. for a time, quite hopeful. In the course of the 
conversation Sir Charles offered Macaulay the post of Sheriff of the Mid- 
land District. That would have been a decided demotion and John Macaulay 
declined it saying that in lieu of a higher post he hoped he might be given 
some compensation. The memorandum continues : "What do you mean 
by compensation?" asked His Excellency, "You mean the pension fund?" 
"I do, sir", I replied. "Oh, now I understand what you want. I shall make 
a memorandum," said His Excellency." The interview ended there and an 
answer came to John Macaulay four months later. Since he had refused the 
offer of the Shrievalty of the Midland District the Government was in no 
way obligated to grant him a pension. 

John Macaulay continued his duties as a member of the Eegislative 
Council. He took some pride in delaying a family journey while he stayed 
in Kingston to make certain there would be a quorum in the Council. Eater, 
in 1845, he was appointed Collector of Customs for the port of Kingston, 
but resigned after about six months and confined himself to his law 

What of his family during those busy years? In December 1838, a 
second daughter, Naomi Helen Mcintosh Macaulay was born in Toronto. 
In April 1840, triplet daughters were born to the Macaulays and died 
within nine days. Meanwhile John Macaulay's letters to his mother in 
Kingston were filled with the excitement and speculation about the site for 
the new capital. John decided he would need a new house and proposed 
buying a lot from Mrs. Murney on the waterfront beside a lot John Ham- 
ilton had just purchased. When he couldn't get a lot there he wrote his 
uncle, John Kirby, wondering if Molson might sell him a lot (where the 
filtration plant now stands). And failing that he bought six acres north 
of Union Street which he described as "the new street running in the rear 
of the Archdeacon's Great Castle". He already owned seven acres at the 
corner of Union and Barrie which he had bought from the Archdeacon. 
It was some of this land that he gave in 1843 as a site for St. James' 
Church. The rest he broke up into building lots calling it Arthur Place 
in honour of Sir George Arthur. 

The housing problem in Kingston was a critical one at the time of 
Union. Mrs. Macaulay was still in the old house since John Forsyth 
occupied Knaresborough Cottage until May 1842. And she was having 
trouble with the drains, a recurring problem in Kingston history. She 

The Macaulay Family of Kingston 11 

wrote to John that they had taken up the sink to clean it, had the drain 
open as far as the gate and found where it turned into the street. Then 
she writes, "I was forhid taking up the pavement without the mayor's 
permission. So I sent Robert (her handyman) to get Mr. Counter. . . . 
I said I would not pay frontage, as they call it, . . . for my planking was 
as sound as it was new laid a few years ago . . . mine was made to join 
the main drain through the street. . . . We dug it and found it completely 
stopt up." 

When John Macaulay and his family returned to Kingston in May 
1841 they were all with his mother in the old house. She had objected to 
his plan of putting an addition to it so some of his furniture had to be 
stored with friends. When Mr. Forsyth's lease was up on Knaresborough 
Cottage a wing was added to it and the family moved in. Mrs. Ann Mac- 
aulay stayed on at the old house. A son, John Kirby Macaulay, was born 
in June 1842 and over a year later John and Helen Macaulay took their 
small family to Scotland to visit the Macphersons. 

Another daughter, Frances Jane Macaulay, was born in May 1845 
and her birth was recorded in the family prayer book. One page in that 
book gives us a note on family life: "December 1845, Annie had measles". 
A later note says : "Helen, John and Fanny had measles at the same time 
as Annie". The book also contains a record of vaccinations. 

The next year was spent in a fruitless search for a climate or a cure 
for the second daughter, Helen, age seven, who had recurring bouts of 
fever. She died October 29th, 1846, in her eighth year. Six days later 
Helen Macpherson Macaulay, beloved wife of the Honourable John Mac- 
aulay, died of consumption. John's mother took over the care of Annie, 
twelve ; Johnny, four ; and baby Fanny, one and a half. In December of 
that year another blow fell. John Kirby, who had been like a father to 
his nephew and who had been a beloved brother to Mrs. Ann Macaulay, 
died. 1846 was a sad year for the Macaulay family. 

In 1847 a special wing was added to Knaresborough Cottage as sep- 
arate quarters for Mrs. Ann Macaulay. Mrs. Ann Kirby Macaulay died 
in Kingston in 1850, age 80. Some time later Mrs. Eliza Macpherson 
MacKenzie, John's sister-in-law, came to look after the Macaulay children. 
She was there in 1852 when the Honourable John was called to England. 
His eldest daughter, Annie, was at school there and very ill. He was 
urged to come at once. Ann Elizabeth Mary Macaulay, age 17, died in 
London in April of consumption and was brought home to be buried in 
Kingston. The record in the prayer book includes: "Alas, my dear 

In 1853 John Macaulay married Sarah Phillis Young, daughter of 
Colonel Plomer Young. The only child of that marriage was Charlotte 
Jane Macaulay, born September 21st, 1855, only ten days before the Hon- 

12 The Macaulay Family of Kingston 

ourable John Macaulay suffered a stroke. Two years later in the Chronicle 
and News of August 14, 1857, appeared the following notice: 

"DIED : On Monday, the 10th August, at his residence in Kingston, 
after a long illness, and in the 65th year of his age, the Honorable 
John Macaulay, member of the Legislative Council of Canada, 
formerly Inspector General of Upper Canada, etc., etc., and one 
of the oldest residents of Kingston." 

A week later an obituary appeared telling of his long public service 
and ending with : "He lived an excellent man and those wdio survive him 
and knew him intimately know best how highly to appreciate him". The 
initials G.H.M. appear at the end of the article, George Herchmer Mark- 
land, a life-long friend of the Honourable John Macaulay. 

Three children survived the Honourable John. Frances, Jane Macaulay 
in 1865 married George Airey Kirkpatrick and had five children before 
her death in 1877. John Kirby Macaulay married two years later Mary 
Elizabeth Nixon of New York, a descendant of Robert Macaulay's sister, 
Mary Macaulay Nixon. Three children were born to that marriage and 
when their mother died in 1874, Mrs. Sarah Macaulay, the Honourable 
John's widow, brought them to Knaresborough Cottage. 

They used to go riding with their grandmother who took great pride 
in her equipage. She had an Irish coachman and she kept two horses^ 
always black and always lively; when they quietened down she sold them 
to the undertaker. The youngest of these three grandchildren of the Honor- 
able John was Frances Hamilton Macaulay who married Charles Chris- 
topher Abbott. Their daughter, Miss Charlotte Abbott has contributed 
much to this paper. 

The Macaulay family of Kingston were loyalists, pioneers, Canadians, 
who served their Sovereign and their country with respect and devotion. 

The Civil Service when Kingston was the 
Capital of Canada 

- BY - 

/. E. Hodgetts 

Canadian civil servants, a century ago, may not have been the most 
efficient in the world but they were certainly the most well-travelled. The 
seat of government was moved so frequently that officials were unable 
to get into those deep ruts of routine and lethargy which are alleged to 
be one of the hall-marks of bureaucracy. Indeed, with that perversity now 
generally ascribed to bureaucrats, they reversed the usual adjuration "go 
west young man" and ambitiously pursued their headquarters eastward 
from Toronto to Kingston to Montreal. Then for a period they could 
count on quadrennial, all-expense tours of the St. Lawrence, as the capital 
rotated between Quebec and Toronto. Not until 1865 were they brought 
to roost in that backwoods community up the Ottawa River once unkindly 
referred to as "the back door to Labrador". 

I do not intend to chase our early civil servants back and forth across 
the United Provinces, but rather, I hope to give you a snap shot of them 
during the short period when their perambulations came to a temporary 
halt in Kingston. I suspect my picture will look like a faded daguerrotype 
of the Kingston Snow Show Club, circa 1865. How could real human 
beings live behind those frightening beards? Could those rigid legs, one 
foot self-consciously pointed before the other, ever have carried their 
owners across the snow ? Could these refugees from a fancy dress ball ever 
have been real persons? I fear, as I say, that my picture will convey the 
same stilted, unrealistic atmosphere. And yet, I could wish it were possible 
to do better for our early civil servants, for many were interesting people, 
engaged upon interesting tasks. 

My tale begins with excited communiques carried by the press of the 
three rivals competing for the honour of becoming the capital of the new 
united province of Canada. The political marriage of Upper and Lower 
Canada was proclaimed with consumate delicacy on the first anniversary 
of Queen Victoria's marriage, February 10, 1841. Beginning in August 
of the previous year the rumours thickened. The Toronto Examiner, Aug- 
ust 12th, 1840, reported that informal plans for accommodating the gov- 
ernment in Montreal had already been drawn up but as yet had received 
no official blessing. A few days later the Kingston Chronicle kept its pa- 
tron's name in the lists by reporting on the authority of a letter from a 
most respectable Montreal source that Kingston had, in fact, been chosen. 
The Toronto press quickly scotched this rumour with a statement attrib- 
uted to the Governor that Kingston was too near the frontier to be capable 
of defense. The Kingston British Whig retorted in kind, accusing Toronto 
officials of "making assess of themselves" in their efforts to ingratiate the 


The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

Governor Even if the rival Tories and radicals of Toronto had buried the 
hatchet long enough to produce an effusive address to the Governor, it was 
too late the Kingston paper claimed, for Toronto to prove its reliability. 
Tin- next report came from Montreal to the effect that Toronto had most 
certainly been selected and that Sir Allan McNab's old home had been 
bought to serve as a vice-regal residence. 

( her the Christmas vacation the rumours died out, only to be jolted 
alive again by the abrupt official announcement in February that Kingston 
had been selected. This rumour proved to be true, and Kingston's metro- 
politan rivals proved to be poor losers. With a show of great indignation 
Toronto remarked that the harbour of the new capital was still frozen solid 
while the harbours of all other self-respecting cities were wide open. In 
June the press of both rivals reported gleefully that the flags unfurled for 
the gala display attending Sydenham's arrival in Kingston had to be bor- 
rowed from them. There were also snide remarks about the housing. It 
was rumoured, for example, that the Provincial Penetentiary was to be 
fitted up for the members of parliament and officers of the House of 
Assembly. "We have not heard", sniffed the Toronto press, "that the 
criminals are to be removed. The Members might have worse quarters". 
Mr. Yiger and three colleagues from French Canada complained of having 
had to sleep all together in a hotel garret ; "confined like emigrants" thun- 
dered the Montreal Courier. Fven the provisioning of the new capital was 
cause for satire: "If a jury of bellies (we ask pardon for the word) were to 
sit upon the Kingston landlords, they would find them guilty without 
dissent, and sentence them, as an extreme punishment, to live upon 
their own viands and drink their own wines for the next three months". 
Kingston's limited larder was also the butt of crude comment by her larger 
and presumably better-stocked rivals. While "there is no danger of famine 
while we are permitted to chow so much Yankee food", hands are held up 
in horror at the thought that Canadian legislators must depend on Amer- 
ican sustenance. 

These jealous rumblings, however, gradually faded away as the dis- 
appointed rivals sat back confidently (and prophetically) to await the 
inevitable transfer of the seat of government from that poor town so re- 
cently apostrophised by Dickens as "one half burnt down and the other 
half as yet not built up". Meanwhile, important things began to happen in 
Kingston as Sydenham drove his baulky assembly at one of the heaviest 
legislative programmes ever faced by a representative body. Perhaps it is 
no matter for surprise, therefore, that the special correspondents reported 
only the events which took place inside that cosy legislative Chamber in 
what is now the Kingston General Hospital. Neither the reporters of those 
days nor the historians of more recent date have paid any attention to the 
civil service of the United Canadas. It is my contention that our early civil 
servants in Kingston deserve better of us than silence. I also believe that 
it was while Kingston was playing host to the civil service that the main 
outlines of our modern administrative system took shape. 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 15 

Perhaps our historians have been right in preserving a direct silence 
about the labours of our early bureaucrats. After all, it may be asked, 
what need would the sturdy, self-reliant pioneers have for the services 
of the state 115 years ago? If we adopt the traditional view we should 
reply: scarcely any need at all. But, let us consider the matter more 
closely. In the 1850's, Alexander Gait, then Minister of Finance had 
this to say : 

Our Population, annually increased by Immigration, compels more extended 
arrangements for the Administration of Justice, and the wants of Civil Government. 
Our Infant Enterprises need to be fostered by the aid of Public Funds, and our great 
productive resources nurtured and expanded by the Erection of Public Buildings, the 
Construction of Light Houses on our Coasts, and the Improvement of our Harbours 
and Navigable Waters. 

And independently of these inevitable Expenditures which burthen the Public 
Treasury of every young Country, we have from the same Fund to draw means for 
the Construction of Roads, the promotion of Agriculture, the support of Hospitals 
and other Charities, and the encouragement of Literary and Scientific Institutions, 
all of which in more populous and wealthy countries are efficiently provided by private 
enterprise and private benevolence. 

In short. Gait, very much like Alexander Hamilton before him in the 
United States, considered a pioneer community more dependent on basic 
services provided by the state than a more mature, well-developed economy. 

An agrarian, sparsely settled community required, amongst other 
services, an efficient surveying department to map out the land ; a host 
of local land agents to guide new settlers to the best lands and to record 
property transactions. Indian agents were required to take care of the 
native population recently enclosed on reserves. The depradations of 
fishermen needed to be regulated by fisheries overseers, for already this 
natural resource was showing signs of depletion. For the lucrative staple 
industry, lumbering, there had to be agents to assign timber berths, collect 
license fees and timber dues, and grade the many types of timber moving 
down river to the export market. Shortly, with the discoveries of rich 
copper resources around Lakes Huron and Superior, gold in the Chau- 
diere and oil in the Gaspe, other agencies had to be created to superintend 
their exploitation. Immigrants also had to be received and passed on up 
the great waterway to the interior. In the field of transportation and com- 
munication government services were no less vital to the inhabitants of 
the Canadas. To-day, the welfare state with all its attendant beneficient 
services tends to make us underrate or take for granted the provision of 
such public utilities as roads, bridges, harbours and canals. Yet, for the 
pioneers in isolated communities across Canada, a new road or bridge 
was a matter of great moment upon which even elections might be won 
or lost. Xor was the commercial empire of the St. Lawrence possible 
without a vast network of canal engineers, lockmasters and seasonal la- 
bourers all in the hire of the Public Works Department. The royal posts 
also provided that vital contact with relations back home which made it a 
blessing — albeit an expensive one — for the colonists. Needless to say, 
amongst the services essential to the community, although never popular 

16 The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

with its members, were the tax gathering agencies such as Customs and 
Excise. One could go on, but perhaps the point has been sufficiently la- 
boured: clearly, the pre-Confederation public service filled as many per- 
manent needs of the people as its twentieth century successor. 

Primarily under Sydenham's direction, Kingston witnessed during the 
1840's a reorganization of the provincial civil service which, with few 
changes, gave us the departmental system with which we opened the new 
era of confederation. The civil service that arrived in Kingston in 1841 
was a hotch potch of autonomous agencies and branches. The numerous 
functions of the state were not grouped into a coherent pattern of gov- 
ernmental departments. There were no political heads responsible to the 
legislature for policy. A permanent deputy minister, acting as the alter ego 
of the minister and in command of a disciplined hierarchy of civil servants 
had not, as yet, been envisaged. The cabinet still lacked the power and 
party cohesion required to provide joint responsibility and a united top 
command. As Sydenham's distinguished predecessor, Lord Durham, had 
remarked : "From the highest to the lowest offices of the executive gov- 
ernment no important department is so organized as to act vigorously and 
completely throughout the Province and every duty which a government 
owes to its subjects is imperfectly discharged". 

In my opinion, Sydenham's true claim to fame lies in the successful 
attack which he launched upon this set of strictly administrative problems. 
He himself could do little to advance the cause of a responsible cabinet 
system for he was personally too much the partisan protragonist to sit on 
the side lines like our perfect model of the modern Governor General. Nor, 
even if he had been temperamentally suited to the neutralist role, would 
his chief, Lord John Russell, have permitted him to acknowledge the right 
of the local executive to hold itself responsible to the local legislature. 
Nevertheless, in the long run. Sydenham's administrative reforms made 
possible the evolution of an effective, responsible cabinet system. He assem- 
bled the scattered activities of government into a number of departments, 
each containing related functions. Each department was provided with a 
political head who was also given a place at the Council Table. In short, 
he "rationalized" our civilian departments and brought the threads of 
control into the hands of one man at the top. In turn, each ministerial 
head reported to the Governor as the supreme commander of the public 
service. In this last feature we find the significant departure from our 
modern conception of cabinet government, for we now require the de- 
partmental heads to prove they have the confidence of the popular assem- 
bly, rather than that of the Governor. 

Important constitutional issues were raised by these changes, but the 
essential feature to be emphasized here is that Sydenham bequeathed the 
departmental conception and so laid not only the foundation of our modern 
bureaucracy but also made possoble the further development of the cabinet 
system. Even after Confederation the departmental frame-work which he 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 17 

had devised proved to be surprisingly adequate and comprehensive, as new- 
duties were undertaken by the state. 

It is in order now to consider in more detail the essential elements of 
this departmental system. The departments can be divided into five 

(1) Administrative Agencies. The departments under this heading 
were concerned not so much with providing services for the public but 
with facilitating the handling of government business. They included the 
Office of the Governor's Secretary (often referred to as the Civil Secre- 
tary's Office), the Executive Council Office and Provincial Secretary's 
Office. To these we might also add the law offices — the Attorney General 
and Solicitor General — although at this time they were not formally orga- 
nized as departments and had no staff. While all the staff of these agencies 
worked in Kingston they scarcely constituted a housing problem for at 
best their combined numbers seldom exceeded thirty. 

Perhaps the most important of these central departments was that 
directed by the Civil Secretary who was virtually the permanent head of 
the local civil service. Because of his prestige, this official was the fav- 
ourite target of the reform element w T ho considered this alien import a 
direct reflection on the capacity of the colonial officials to administer their 
own affairs. Even with the decline in the powers of the Governor General 
in Lord Elgin's time the Civil Secretary retained important administrative 
responsibilities; not until 1860, for example, was he deprived of his posi- 
tion as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Canada. The Executive Council 
Office handled the paper work of government, especially the applications 
for land grants and the processing of land patents. Such was the labyrinth 
of red tapes connected with the processing of these papers that many years 
might go by before a land patent was finally approved. One of Lord 
Sydenham's innovations was the creation of a political officer with the 
impressive title of President of the Committees of Council, later shortened 
to President of Council — an office now automatically assumed by the Prime 
Minister. In the 1840's, however, it did not have this prestige and the 
President of Council acted somewhat as a secretary or business manager 
for the cabinet, particularly in the tedious sifting of the many applications 
for land patents which has been mentioned. 

The Provincial Secretary's Office in this period was something like 
a modern Department of Municipal Affairs, generally supervising the 
local government units that were just beginning to appear as a result 
of Sydenham's prodding. It also became a repository for other headless 
governmental agencies such as the Provincial Penitentiary, the asylums 
and (unfortunate juxtaposition) the Education Offices. 

(2) Financial Administration. The two key agencies in the second 
category of departments were the offices of the Receiver General and 
Inspector General. The two jobs today are amalgamated in the Minister 
of Finance but in the 1840's Kingston had to make provision for two 

18 IMF Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

separate offices. The Receiver General often had little to receive because 
oi the unfortunate practice of permitting departments to extract their 
administrative costs from the gross revenues before turning back the re- 
mainder to the treasury. The Inspector General was, at this time, both an 
embryonic Minister of Finance and Auditor General. The office was early 
distinguished by the competent Francis Hincks and later transformed into 
the modern Department of Finance by Alexander Gait. The audit was 
badly handled until 1855 when Macdonald induced John Langton, a prac- 
tical businessman from the wilds north of Peterborough, to become our 
first .Auditor General. After Confederation, Langton also became Deputy 
Minister of Finance and Secretary to the Treasury Board. Here he re- 
mained until his retirement in 1878, an amazing one-man financial band. 

The revenue collecting agencies in this second category of govern- 
ment departments comprised the Post Office, Customs and Excise. The 
Posl Office was under Imperial control at this time, the services it pro- 
vided being so limited and costly that the colonists tended to view it pri- 
marily as a tax -gathering rather than a servicing agency. Thomas Stayner, 
the Deputy Postmaster General was probably the most unpopular Imperial 
official in the colony and was regularly accused of milking the local com- 
munity of several thousand pounds per annum which enriched the British 
Treasury. Stayner refused to grace Kingston with his presence, preferring 
to keep his headquarters at Quebec. Sydenham resented the independence 
of the postal head but was unable to bring him under his personal super- 

The Customs Service, like the Post Office, was also under strong 
Imperial influence during the period when Kingston was capital. A large 
portion of our customs duties, which made up the main source of tax 
revenue in the colony, came from Imperial duties levied on imports and 
exports at Quebec and Montreal. This part of the service was manned by 
Imperial officials. But, at the same time, a strictly Canadian customs ser- 
vice was being built up around the trade between Canada and the United 
States. The high tariffs on tea, books and tobacco led, even at this early 
date, to the development of smuggling activities which have, ever since 
characterized the relations on either side of our famous undefended fron- 
tier. Malcolm Cameron who investigated this phenomenon in 1842 esti- 
mated that our "revenooers" were able to collect less than half the duty 
to which the flow of trade entitled us. He noted that in the case of books 
the theologians and lawyers seemed to be hardest hit. He presumed that 
the claims of conscience made the theologians take their tax medicine 
quietly, while the lawyers, he observed, "can make more in time out of 
the people, than by evading the revenue law". 

A supplementary revenue collecting agency was the Inland Revenue 
.ranch which appears to have been in charge of nuisance taxes now nor- 

• treated as the special prerogative of municipal governments The 
•xes on such varied items as steamboats, public houses, billiard tables. 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 19 

'hawkers, pedlars and petty chapmen" seldom produced sufficient revenues 
to pay the costs of collection. 

Nearly all the government employees in the departments concerned 
with financial administration were stationed in various centres scattered 
throughout the province. As a consequence the presence in Kingston of 
the dozen officials, who made up the total headquarter's staff of all these 
agencies, contributed very little to the congestion in the new capital. 

(3) Defence. The main department connected with local defence 
arrangements was the Office of Adjutant General which was in charge of 
the militia. Since the inhabitants (except in the infrequent occurrence of a 
crisis or the festive "muster day" ) took a rather cavalier attitude toward 
the militia, the office tended to conduct a fairly relaxed undertaking. When 
Hon. John A. Macdonald took over as first Minister of Militia in 1861 he 
found three clerks, one of whom had not attended the office since 1859 
because of epilepsy, a second was blind and the third was at "an advanced 
age and in delicate health". Altogether, there appear to have been roughly 
nine people employed at headquarters during its stay in Kingston. (My 
score card now reads: for the ten departments mentioned thus far, we 
have approximately 50 civil servants in Kingston, as against about 115 in 
"the field" ). 

(4) Education and Welfare. Aside from the Education Offices for 
Upper and Lower Canada which, in fact, worked out of Toronto and 
Quebec respectively, certain public institutions, like hospitals, asylums and 
the penitentiary would be included in this fourth category. The Indian De- 
partment and the Emigration office would also fit appropriately under this 
heading. Theoretically, these public institutions reported to the Provincial 
Secretary but in practice lived almost an autonomous administrative 
existence. During this period, only the Provincial Penitentiary was of any 
real significance in the administrative life of Kingston. 

While the Indian Department made its headquarters in Kingston, its 
organization was so loose that it scarcely warranted the title "department". 
Indian affairs appear to have been run by a queer mixture of Whitehall 
departments, Lieutenant-Governors, the military personnel in the province 
and the Commissariat. Since its major preoccupation had been and still 
was the distribution of presents to the Indian tribes, the operations of the 
agency were highly dispersed amongst the sixty-odd agents working in 
the "Indian Superintendencies" stretching from Manitoulin Island to 
Montreal. Colonel S. P. Jarvis was in charge of the very tiny headquarters 
staff while it was in Kingston. About the time the seat of government was 
removed to Montreal, Jarvis was engaged in a heated correspondence with 
the Board o Audit in England over some disputed accounts which lasted 
for several years and ultimately resulted in his dismissal. Thenceforward 
until 1860, the Governor's Secretary acted as Superintendent of Indian 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

The Emigration Office throughout the whole pre-Confederation period 
kept its headquarters in Quebec Kingston participated in the administra- 
tion of immigration affairs only through the presence of a local agent who 
handled the traffic as it passed up river to the interior. The British orien- 
tation of the agency is - g ..vsted by its very title — "Emmigration Office'" — 
- hief purpose, in the eyes of Imperial authorities being to handle British 
emigrants, rather than Canadian immigrants. It was shortly after the 
eminent left Kingston that the Emigration Office met its first major 
sis — the influx during 1847 of tens of thousands of plague-ridden Irish 
immigrants. Disastrous as this forlorn tide of humanity proved to be. 
Canada nevertheless managed to wrest from it a major concession, the 
control over her own immigration service. 

Perhaps the most colorful episode in the long career of this agency 
:rred some time after the civil service had left Kingston — although it 
did involve Mr. Macpherson. the Kingston immigrant agent. This was the 
case of the Limerick Union Girls. Some eighty of these girls from Dublin 
landed at Point Levis without any prior notice of their arrival. They im- 
mediately went out on the town, selling all their wordly goods and becom- 
ing: uproariously drunk. The alarmed authorities shunted them quickly to 
Montreal where they were sheltered by a kindly order of nursing sisters. 
Their behaviour remained unimproved and they then had to be passed on 
up the St. Lawrence for distribution amongst the population. In Ottawa 
we hear of them being rejected as totally unfit for domestic employment 
and at Kingston, after the local agent had found occupations for them, they 
- ra came back on his hands. \Ye have a final glimpse of them steaming 
for Toronto, as Mr. Macpherson noted in shocked surprise, some of them 
lying dead drunk on the decks and some of them in the arms of artillerv 
:ers who were on board. "And all this in broad daylight, too", was Mr. 
Macpherson's final sad commentary. 

Returning to our score cards we may now note that fourteen agencies 
have been accounted for and that so far only about 60 officers were actually 
working at headquarter's staff in Kingston. 

5 Natural Resources and Development. The largest operating 
and spending departments were included in this fifth category, adminis- 
tration of natural resources and development of communications. Syden- 
ham reorganized the Crown Lands Department while it was in Kingston 
but he probably never envisaged that it would become a holding company 
lor a vast miscellany of administrative duties. In addition to the real estate 
operations of the government, it soon absorbed the Surveyor General's 
Bee (IS- 5 and took on such new branches as Mines (1847), Woods 
and Forests (1854), Fisherie- :- : ~ and. ultimatelv. Indian Affairs 

The biggest administrative problem of this agencv was the hoard of 

:h it had to deploy across the province, disposing of the 

hich were the only capital assets at that time. How 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 21 

to superintend them and, more particularly, how to keep them honest in 
the face of almost inexhaustible opportunities for plunder were the main 
unresolved issues. Moreover, given the variety of somewhat disconnected 
and autonomous branches contained under its roof, the Department faced 
a perpetual problem of coordination. It is not surprising, on that account, 
to find Crown Lands pioneering in the use of a permanent official at the 
top, now a familiar and indispensable part of every government depart- 
ment, namely, the Deputy Minister. But that notable advance was to take 
place some time after the civil service had departed from Kingston. 

The other giant department was Public Works ; its main administra- 
tive difficulties derived from its responsibilities as chief spending agency of 
the province. The Union of 1841 had been cemented with the Imperial 
loan of one and a half million pounds, most of which was to be spent on 
public works. Consequently. Sydenham took special pains to see that the 
Department vested with the important duty of spending this money would 
be honestly and efficiently run. Since most of the loan was devoted to 
building the canal life-line of the colony, the Department of Public Works 
was virtually a department of transport. In addition, however, it acted also 
as the government's housekeeper, building and maintaining all public 
buildings, gaols, court houses and the like. 

The man who presided over this department while it was in Kingston 
and, indeed, off and on. for many years after, was Hamilton Killaly. One 
of his fishing friends, and Sydenham's Chaplain, the Reverend Agar 
Adamson, has left us this amusing and revealing description of him. We 
may conclude from it, I think, that the early civil service in Kingston was 
not without its characters. 

He was the most expensively and the worst dressed man on the wide continent 
of North America. ... I have seen him at one time promenading a populous city 
in a dirty, powder-smeared and blood-stained shooting coat, while his nether man 
was encased in black dress pantaloons, silk stockings and highly varnished french- 
leather dancing pumps ... It was a complete puzzle to his acquaintances where he 
obtained all the old hats he wore . . . Though his head was white, and his face 
purple — like a red cabbage in snow — he was, as Nathaniel Hawthorne says "a won- 
derful specimen of wintergreen". . . . His voice and laugh . . . came strutting out of 
his lungs, like the crow of a cock. . . . His temper was uncertain as the wind to- 
wards his subordinates, sometimes familiar as a playfellow, at others as injurious, 
overbearing and unreasoning as a Turk. He was more cautious, however, with his 
superiors, and with those whose opinions might affect his interests. 

Apart from the expenditure side of this department, its main problems 
arose from the presence of large numbers of technically trained personnel 
on its staff. The relations between the skilled engineer and the politically 
responsible layman who was required to direct the department's affairs 
always revealed a serious tension. The engineers had a tendency to assume 
powers and make decisions which were not constitutionally theirs to take. 
This is a constant temptation when the man on top is not a specialist and 
probably incapable of understanding the specialists' explanations. The up- 
shot of this uneasy relationship between the politically responsible layman 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

and the technically competent specialist was periodic upheavals in the de- 
partment caused by sudden revolts on the pan of the political head against 
the assumption of power by his skilled subordinates. The revolt usually 

anissa E the chief permanent official who always hap- 
pened t - same time, an engineer. Killaly. for example, was dis- 
charged for an irresponsible, over-enthusiastic expansion of the canal 
building projects and later Samuel Keefer met his Waterloo over the 

n of the Ottawa Parliament Buildings. These epi- 
sodes have had their most recent contemporary parallel in the highways 
scandal in the Province of Ontario. 

With these two large departments added to our previous list the total 
population of bureaucrats in Kingst' in came to about one hundred, while 
another two hundred and fifty or so would have been dispersed throughout 
the province. Roughly that would mean that there was one civil servant 
for every 3.000 citizens as contrasted today with a ratio of approximately 
one to forty-five. 

Working Conditions in the Civil Service. I have not made any in- 
tensive investigation of the local housing arrangements for civil servants 
while they were in Kingston, nor does space permit more than a 
brief glance at the working conditions then prevailing. Civil servants 
were, of course, recruited on the casual patronage system which 
lingered for a long time after Confederation. No examinations of 
any kind were required until after the first Civil Service Act was 

-sed in 1857. However, for land surveyors and timber cullers 

- the group of timber graders at Lachine and Quebec were called ) 
tests were instituted somewhat earlier. We should preserve per- 
spective here and note that this situation was not confined to the 

il service. There were really no professions firmly established in 

these earlv times: doctors, lawyers, engineers and the rest were by 

the firmly-entrenched professionals thev have now be- 

me. Promotions - ne might expect, tended to follow the easy 

and automatic principle of seniority. Salaries appear to have been 

quite decent judged by prevailing standards. Many public officials 

re able to keep servants in true Victorian style and in a land 

wh- re the exception, civil servants probably 

ttle : a ■ : - e to complain . 

servants rked in stove-heated, ill-ventilated offices lit 

_i were from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., '"without in- 

inter, presumably because of inadequate lighting 

early cl aylight. office hours were from 9 to 3.30. 

mental regv odern standards, would appear 

quite - No newspapers were to be read in the 

/.unication with outsiders was permitted without 

officer, i This regulation was emphasized 

El - speculators attempting to ingratiate 

lerks 5m - prohibited — most likely 

The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 23 

because o" the constant fire hazards. Absence without leave for 
more than one hour was likely to bring- the offender on the carpet. 

Paper work, always regarded as th< true signia I bureaucra 
was tremendous and relentless. To process a militiaman's land 
claim, for example, required eighteen different entries to cor.- rt 
the claim to scrip, another ?ixteen to get land with the scrip, and 
involved eight different branches of government to consumate the 
transactions. The financial departments maintained duplicate records 
in order to provide a check and double check on departmental account- 
ants but since these records never tallied and the books re kep: in 
different ways, they were almost worthle-- 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the bureaucra n its 

earlv days was the way it mirrored the political dualism produced by 
the new and uneasy union between the two Canadas. We are 
familiar with the system of joint premierships which that union 
required : it is not so generally known that this same dualism was 
also carried well down into the administrative services. There wer< 
for example, branches of Canada East and Canada West in the 
surveyors, land sales and land patents divisf - Provincial 

Secretary's Office and in the Public Works Department. This did 
not mean that these separate divisions carried on their activil - 
their own respective sections : the United Province, they all. in 
fact, worked in Kingston. Nevertheless, the presence of quite 
separate administrative entities for each section was a clear indication 
that the Union of 1S41 was only superficially a joint enterpri- 

This. then, was the Canadian civil service at the time when 
Kingston was the capital. Our story must on a gloomy 

note. In November. 1843, the provincial Assembly api - : a re- 
solution to shift the capital to Montreal. King-: as stunned, but 
even as late as May. 1S44. the British Whig was still "sanguine that 
'hings will turn up preventing the removal altogether". The por- 
tents, however, were ominous. In Montreal the government sffices 
were ready. Sir Charles Metcalfe, the Governor, lingered in Kingston 
only because the plaster in his new abode had not I dried. Some 
senior officials were also completing arrangements for their departure. 
Mr. Samuel Keefer. chief engineer of the Public V - Department. 
was offering his place for rent. Killaly followed suit by offering 
to let his cottage, known as the Saint's Rest ; mplete, so the adver- 
tisement claimed, with hot and cold baths. Even Metcalfe's cook 
prepared for the departure by inviting all tradesmen merchants, 
if he had overlooked them, to submit their bills. 

On June 4th. the British Ji'hig reported that a". Js ere 

packing and preparing to move down river in earnest Indeed. : 
paper had cause to complain of the thoroughness with 
least one member of the bureaucracy had packed his belonging- 

24 The Civil Service When Kingston Was The Capital of Canada 

large packing case being loaded aboard ship happened to burst open 
and revealed half a cord of the official's firewood valued at 3/6. The 
cost of transporting this bulky item of "personal effects", the Whig 
acidly pointed out would have amounted to £1.9s.6d. ■ ! 

In the fune 14th issue of the Kingston Chronicle and Gazette we are 
informed that the public offices have closed their doors for the last 
time, only the Emigrant agent and the Adjutant General remaining 
behind. Five days later it reports that the public officers have left 
for Montreal. "Kingston appears, as may be expected, dull and flat. 
That very serious injury has been inflicted upon some individuals, 
vho have been induced to expend money in building houses — even 
probably to their ruin — is most certain ; that others will suffer from 
reduced incomes, and that all more or less will feel the consequences, 
cannot be denied". All papers carried fulsome reports of the farewell 
breakfast tendered Metcalfe and his retinue at Daly's, but the authen- 
tic note (with special attention to the cord wood) is struck by these 
verses from the pen of a local bard : 

The Removal 

As sung by the Clerks and others on the Evening Previous to 
their Departure. 

Air - - "The Song of the Shirt". 

Pack— pack— pack— Stuff— stuff— stuff- 
Pokers, and Tongs and Shovels, Bring all-from a pin to a needle, 
Bottles, and cases of sack, Hincks will give us a "puff" — 
Move all to our Eastern hovels. Poor Hincks ! He's our parish Beedle. 
Pack— Pack— Pack— Stuff— stuff— stuff— 
Everything — large and small, Servants and hacks, and spouses, 
You can't cram too much in the sack, If there's not luggage enough 
For— Government pays for all. We'll pack up our landlord's houses. 

Cram— CramCram — Off — off — off — 

All you can muster or borrow, Each can boast of his having been a 
Give it a twist and jam— Willing companion of 
We travel Eastward tomorrow. The amiable learned Hyena. 
Cram— cram— cram— Pack— pack— pack— 
I- ill up some boxes with hardwood— Everything— large and small- 
Honesty's naught but a flam— You can't cram too much in the sack, 
Bring all your ashes and cordwood ! For— Government pays for all! 

With the rhymes of this doggerel sounding in our ears, we may 
appropriately ring down the curtain on this episode in the variegated 
history of Kingston. 

Early Schools in Kingston 

— BY — 

F. P. Smith 

(Note: Owing to illness, Mr. F. P. Smith zvas unable to complete for publi- 
cation the paper which he read before the Society in February 1956 under 
the title "The History of Education in Kingston 1785 to the Present". With 
Mr. Smith's permission the Editor has reproduced here a paper which Mr. 
Smith read to members of the Society in 1933. It contains a great deal of 
material which Mr. Smith included in his later paper). 

To understand clearly the educational problems of the early inhabi- 
tants of Kingston, one must understand the social problems of the citizens. 
Wrenched violently from their homes in the American Colonies, they came 
to a new land devoid of all the refinements of society to which they had 
been accustomed. Those of position had been steeped in the traditions of 
their Motherland ; they knew no other kind of education than a training 
in the Classics. As far as the masses were concerned there was, however, 
no serious thought of including them in the educational system. 

Kingston was, and no doubt always will be, predominantly English. 
Its first citizens were officers and men of the garrison, together with 
officials and merchants. One can readily see that their views of education 
would differ materially from those of a community wholly given over to 
agricultural pursuits. We must not think of the people of the village of 
Kingston as being illiterate. It is true that a great many were unable to 
sign their names, but even when we find a man or a woman making his or 
her mark, we cannot be too sure that the writer was totally uneducated. 
Let us then think of a small village of say fifty houses, ready and anxious 
to take advantage of any educational facilities that could be offered. 

In 1786 the opportunity came. In that year the Rev. John Stuart, 
father of the venerable Archdeacon George Okill Stuart, who had arrived 
in Kingston the previous August, started a school. We must not be sur- 
prised that Stuart, as an educated clergyman, was interested chiefly in the 
classics and in the Anglican catechism. The school was open to any body 
(girls would have to receive their training at home) who could pay the fees 
prescribed, although Mr. Stuart did not, apparently, insist too strongly 
upon payment when the parents could not really afford them. The sub- 
jects taught included Latin and Greek, in addition to moral education and 
the three 'Rs. One might think this was an unusual kind of school to open 
in a back-woods wilderness ; but the people whose sons attended this school 
had all received a classical education, and they were perfectly confident 
that this was the training best suited to their needs. 

At the same time and in the same year, the British garrison stationed 
at old Fort Frontenac found the need of a school, and we find that the 
chaplain, the Rev. Mr. M. Donovan, acted as schoolmaster at the garrison 
school. Mr. Donovan is also to be found acting as schoolmaster in Mr. 

),, Early Schools In Kingston 

Stuart's school for several years. Subsequently Mr. Stuart's son, George 
( )'Kill Stuart (who later opened a school in the provincial capital at York) 
became schoolmaster in Kingston. In 1798 it is recorded that the school 
held a public examination to which all the people of substance in the com- 
munity were invited to attend. 

The first public recognition of the work being done by Rev. John 
Stuart as the Father of the Kingston educational system, was a grant of 
£100 by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe. At first Mr. Stuart 
had conducted the school in his own Rectory. Later it was moved to a 
frame building on School Street, now Lower Union. It existed for many 
\ ears, and we find the Grammar School Board, as late as the governorship 
of Sir John Cathcart, making representations that it was,totally inadequate 
to carry on the necessary work. 

In the early days each village site chosen, (and we must remember 
tbat tbese village sites included practically one for each township) had a 
church lot, a lot for a school site and certain lots for the school master. 
In the case of Kingston these lots were afterwards sold by the Midland 
District Grammar School Board. In 1797 the government of the province 
of Upper Canada again furthered the progress of education by laying aside 
large areas of land for educational purposes. As can readily be imagined, 
the land was of very little use to education, since its sale netted but a 
small amount. Yet £180 per year w r as paid the school master and his 
family. This amount could be supplemented by the amount received from 
boarders, who were expected to remain with the school master if their 
homes were at a distance. That this school was not entirely satisfactory we 
can judge from the fact that John Strachan, afterwards Archdeacon and 
Bishop, was brought out from Scotland to be a tutor to the Cartwright 
family. He opened a school in Kingston in the year 1800. He remained 
in Kingston for three and a half years and then moved to Cornwall. He 
was succeeded in his work by Mr. Mitchell, afterwards Judge Mitchell. 

In 1807 the Grammar School Act was passed by the Legislature of 
Upper Canada. This was one of the most forward steps in education that 
had yet been made in this province. It provided for a Grammar School in 
each of the seven districts. That of the eastern district was at Cornwall, 
that of the Johnstown district about four miles above Prescott on the St. 
Lawrence River, while that of the Midland district was the old school of 
Dr. Stuart on Lower Union Street. The sum of £100 a year was given 
to each school and a board of trustees appointed by the Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor. In these Grammar Schools, as we might expect, the study of the 
classics received the major part of the time. However, the mathematics 
were not neglected, since in a new province and a mercantile community 
it was clearly felt that the pupils must have the rudiments necessary for 
business life. As yet there was no opportunity given for the girls. The first 
teacher of the Grammar School under the Act of 1807 was Mr. John 
Whitelaw. This Grammar School for some years satisfied the needs of the 
community. The old school remained in operation for many years, although 

Early Schools In Kingston 27 

in a most dilapidated condition. Mr. Whitelaw retired in 1817 and was 
succeeded by the Rev. John Wilson, whose term of office closed in 1825 
when he received an official position in the University of Oxford. He was 
succeeded by George Baxter. The first public recognition of non fee-paying 
pupils were two scholarship candidates, one from a school on the site of 
the Royal Military College. This school grew slowly, and by 1831 had 
only forty-eight pupils. Some of the principals were well known. R. V. 
Rogers succeeded George Baxter, and in 1849 W. J. Irwin succeeded to 
the principalship. A forward step was made when the new Grammar School 
was built, which is now called Sydenham School. It had a serious compe- 
titor in Queen's University Preparatory School, but in 1862 the two united 
and the progress has been steady from that time. In 1862 there were four 
teachers and Mr. Samuel Wood was principal. He was succeeded in 1876 
by Dr. A. P. Knight. 

Not until the year 1870, did England see that education for the masses 
of the people was absolutely necessary and commence a system of primary 
education. It is not wonderful then that facilities for primary 
education should have been established in Upper Canada early 
in the century? Loud had been the complaints in the Legislature 
that the Grammar Schools were of little value to any but the well- 
to-do. Petition after petition came before the house asking that some atten- 
tion be paid to primary education. Finally in 1816 the Common School 
Act was passed. Boards of Trustees were established with power to open 
schools, charge fees and levy rates upon the community for the maintenance 
of these schools. Unfortunately, as far as the City of Kingston is con- 
cerned, no records have been discovered earlier than 1850. The reason 
for this is quite obvious. Each ward of the city was independent and had its 
own school board, hired its own teachers and maintained its own school. 
Not until the Act was amended in about the year 1849 and a common 
Board of Education appointed for the whole city was any real progress 

In the year 1846 there were seven schools and 622 pupils. About fifty 
pounds was collected from tuition fees and the rate bill. The average sal- 
ary per teacher was sixty-six pounds. In 1847 the city was divided into 
four school sections and there were ten schools, five male and five female. 
The number of children under sixteen years of age attending them was 
720, and the average attendance was 72. In 1849 a common board was 
appointed for the whole city and from that time until the present progress 
has been steady. However, the report of the superintendent for the year 
1849 shows that within the city limits there were 2,500 pupils between the 
age of five and sixteen. Of this number 738 were in attendance at the 
common schools and 826 in private schools. Truly, the English sentiment 
was prevailing at that late date. If the progress was not rapid after 1816 
until 1850 and very few schools were established until the Act, yet there 
was no lack of private ventures. In 1817 we gather from the Kingston 
Gazette that Baker's Classical School was opened on Rear Street, now 


Early Schools In Kingston 

Barrie. Mr. Wolfe had a private day school for girls ; Mrs. Hill one for 
young ladies; while Mr. Tolkien was ready to teach reading, writing, 
arithmetic, grammar and geography. As if this list was not formidable 
enough we find that in 1818 Mr. Harris opened a new school; Mr. Hodg- 
son advertised one with a ponderous curriculum; Mr. Lapsley was ready 
to take pupils ; and Mr. and Mrs. Pringle had also commenced business. 
We will emphasize the word business, for these schools were not opened 
from any sense of public sentiment but purely for private gain. They were 
usually placed in poor quarters and lasted but a short time, to be succeeded 
by others of the same nature. 

Only from incidental references do we find other schools under the 
Grammar School Act in existence. The one on Point Frederick was in 
operation with a board of public school trustees and sent a scholarship boy 
to the Grammar School. If we did not know otherwise, we would be com- 
pelled to believe that very little attention was paid to elementary education 
in the city of Kingston from 1816 till 1850. Such, however, was not the 
case, and there was a reason why more pupils were attending other schools 
than those attending the Common Schools established under the Act of 1816. 
Early in the century public sentiment was being focused upon the subject 
of primary education. The legislators saw the need plainly enough but there 
was no system by which the need could be met. All saw, or thought they 
saw, that schools should be cheap if the masses were to be educated. Free 
education was not popular, and the argument was put forward that free 
education was pauperizing the people. 

The first movement came from a man named John Lancaster, whose 
aim was to establish schools with an enrolment of as high as a thousand 
pupils. By an ingenious system of monitors much good was to be accom- 
plished at an extremely low cost. We can now look back on the move- 
ment and see its great defects. The education was of a purely mechanical 
type and did not teach the pupils to think. However, this movement, which 
made great headway in Great Britain, had its effect on the Kingston schools 
and we are yet benefitting from the movement. In 1815 the Midland 
District School Society was formed for the purpose of establishing a 
Lancasterian School in Kingston. Funds were solicited, a building pur- 
chased and a teacher engaged. The plan was good. Great attention was paid 
to the morals' of the children, and the children were expected to attend 
divine worship at such times and such places as their parents or guardians 
should direct. This school was situated opposite Sydenham Street Church. 

At first it flourished, but owing to the imperfection of the methods 
employed it greatly languished and was in danger of going out of existence ; 
in fact, for a few years it remained closed. However, fortunately for the 
City of Kingston, in 1833 it was re-opened under a new charter, allow- 
ing any method to be used, and for many years answered the needs of a 
great number of children. Primarily meant for poor children, soon mem- 
bers of the better class attended and good work was accomplished. Some- 

Early Schools In Kingston 29 

times the enrolment rose to three hundred. The fees were extremely small, 
as low as five cents a week. When the school was no longer found necessary, 
owing to the advance in primary education under our present school 
system, the school was closed, but the Midland District School Society 
yet remains. From the invested funds the board of trustees, which is self- 
perpetuating, grants money to the Childrens Aid Society and sometimes 
to the Board of Education for playground purposes. 

During this period the women of Kingston, never behind in matters 
of education or other unselfish work, had organized a hospital. The hos- 
pital became too large for their efforts and after Kingston ceased to be the 
capital of Canada was handed over to the Board of Governors and now 
forms the present Kingston General Hospital. Their attention was then 
directed to a House of Industry which is now a stone building on Earl 
Street between Division and Barrie. To this was attached a school for 
poor children. Strange to say, each child attending was given his or her 
mid-day meal. This institution afterwards changed and became the Or- 
phans' Home, in which was again established a school. 

It is not my purpose to describe the schools of Kingston later than 
the year 1850. As I have mentioned before, primary education had been 
established but had by no means reached the masses of the people. When 
we think that but one-quarter of the total school population were attending 
common schools, whereas now practically ninety-nine percent attend 
them, w r e can see the advance made since 1850. Let us examine the situ- 
ation as it existed when the Common School Act permitted the City Council 
to appoint one school board for the whole city. Not one school house was 
owned by the board. All were in the hands of private individuals and were 
rented to the board by the owners. The owners were the teachers. 

In 1850 the following schools were in operation: 

Mr. and Mrs. Hoppin, Clarence, between King and Wellington ; Mr. 
Bryson, Union Street, opposite St. James' Church ; Mr. O'Donnell, On- 
tario, near Queen ; Mr. Scott, Bagot, between Johnson and William ; Mr. 
Morrison, Division, corner of Division and Brock; Miss Clarke, Williams- 
ville School, then on Victoria Street ; Miss Chestnut, Queen Street, one 
door east of St. Paul's Church ; Miss Graham, Colborne, near Sydenham 
Street ; The Morrison, Johnson, corner Johnson and Bagot. It will be 
noted that the sexes were segregated and half the teachers were men and 
half were women. 

A Clash in St. Paul's Churchyard 

— BY — 

R. A. Preston 

In June of this year a large gathering of interested people will 
gather at the U.E.L. Cemetery in Adolphustown to attend ceremonies 
which will fittingly mark the success of efforts to restore that 
historic place to a decent condition. In recent newspaper articles 
this cemetery has been described as one of the oldest English ceme- 
teries in Ontario, which of course it is. It has also been said to be 
"perhaps the oldest" and "possibly one of the first white cemeteries 
in Ontario". The basis for these claims is that a child was buried in 
that place within a few days of the arrival of the Lovalists on June 
16, 1784. 

Although that cemetery is undoubtedly one of the oldest Loyalist 
cemeteries and one of the oldest white cemeteries which still exists 
in Ontario, it is not the oldest known white burying ground in this 
province. The French came here to Cataraqui in 1673 ; and obviously 
the Recollet and Jesuit priests who served at Fort Frontenac would 
have a cemetery. Indeed we have a Recollet Parish Register for the 
years 1747 to 1752 which records ten burials, French and Indian. 
And from a statement made many years later by one of the first 
English settlers we know where the French graveyard was. He 
declared "The old French burial ground was situated near old Fort 
Frontenac, on the point where the Honourable Richard Cartwright 
formerly resided". That puts it somewhere near where the road enters 
the La Salle Causeway from the west, perhaps under buildings of 
the present Fort Frontenac. The same man also recollected the site 
of two ancient Indian burial grounds near to the French fort; but 
unfortunately he did not state where they were. 

There is also reason to believe that the U.E.L. Cemetery is not 
as old as St. Paul's Churchyard. The information about French and 
Indian cemeteries was given by a William Crawford in 1825 at an 
enquiry designed to prove that the first English cemetery in Catara- 
qui (i.e., Kingston) belonged to the episcopal Church of' St. George- 
In the course of the enquiry, evidence about the first establishment 
of that cemetery, now known as St. Paul's churchyard, threw light 
on its age. Several witnesses stated that the cemetery had been 
reserved at the insistence of the Reverend John Stuart, the first 
Church of England clergyman in Upper Canada, who had obtained 
the ground from the commandant of the troops, Major John Ross. 
If this was so, it would suggest that St. Paul's churchyard was not 
used as a burying ground as early as that at Adolphustown; for 
John Stuart came only briefly to Cataraqui in June of 1784 and did 
not return to take up permanent residence here until August 1785. 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 31 

But it is likely that in this respect the witnesses at the enquiry 
were wrong. Several others gave more precise details. One testified 
as follows: "I, John Ferguson of the town of Kingston, do hereby 
declare that in the fall of the year one thousand seven hundred and 
eighty three, this declarant, by the direction of Major Ross of the 
34th Regiment, at that time Commandant of Kingston, did mark out 
the boundary line of the ground now occupied as the Episcopal 
Burying ground (i.e. St. Paul's churchyard), that Major Ross was 
present at the time, and that the first person that was interred in 
the said ground was a Corporal Forrester of the Second Battalion 
of the Royal Yorkers"- William Crawford, he who remembered the 
French and Indian burying grounds, told this to the committee taking 
evidence in 1825 : "A man named Forbes died shortly after the 
arrival of the said battalion (of the Royal Regiment of New York 
which arrived in Kingston on July 30, 1783) and was among the 
first interred in what is now called the Lower Episcopal Burying 
Ground". He added that "One Sweeney" of the 84th Regiment, who 
was on leave at Fort Frontenac, died "early in the winter of 1784" 
and was also interred there. By "winter of 1784" he probably meant 
the early months of the year- He also said, "This burial ground was 
not enclosed until after 1784 when a paling fence was put around 
it". This last statement probably explains the erro r s made by those 
witnesses who thought that Stuart had solicited the Commandant 
to set the ground aside for a cemetery. They remembered that it 
had been one of the Rector's first cares after his arrival. 

Even more positive evidence came from John Carscallen, a 
Deputy Chaplain of the Royal Yorkers, who said that he came to 
Fort Frontenac in the spring of 1783 and that he buried a Corporal 
Forbes, who was the first person to be buried in the lower episcopal 
burying ground which was set apart by Major Ross. We also know 
that the Reverend John Stuart, on one of his two visits to Cataraqui 
in 1784, buried a child in Kingston. 

This evidence shows clearly that the St. Paul's churchyard ante- 
dates that at Adolphustown. The differences about the identity of 
the first person to be buried there are not important. They can be 
explained by the inevitable weaknesses of memory forty two years 
after the event. 

The enquiry in 1825, which thus establishes for us the age of 
the cemetery, was held in connection with an unseemly clash at a 
funeral in the burying ground, between a clergyman of the Church 
of England and a minister of the Church of Scotland. The men 
concerned were the Venerable George Okill Stuart, Archdeacon of 
York and Rector of St. George's, the son and successor of the 
Reverend John Stuart, and the Reverend John Barclav, the first 
Minister of St. Andrew's Church. An earlier clash between these 
men at the burial ground is described by Mr. Roy in Kingston, the 

32 A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 

King's Town where Mr. Roy takes the attitude that Stuart was 
entirely at fault because the Church of England and the Church of 
Scotland were, "in the eyes of Canadian law, ... of equal status 
and entitled to the same privileges and benefits". Mr. Roy said 
that the Presbyterians were surprised to find that their claims to 
bury their dead in the episcopal churchyard opposed, He alleged 
that Stuart was a "hard grasping man of business by nature who . . . 
showed little of the grace of God at the beginning of his ministry 
and who. . . ought to have been a realtor". Stuart's opposition to the 
Presbyterians he described as "a most unchristian and uncharitable 
act". Mr. Roy apparently did not know about the later incident 
which was much more dramatic than the one which he described and 
which would have given even more scope to his very vivid pen. 

These two incidents in the churchyard cannot be attributed to 
tne personal qualities of the men concerned. The friction in Kingston 
was a part of a conflict which had spread throughout Upper Canada- 
To understand them it is necessary to know something about that 
wider struggle and also about the early history of the churches and 
the burying ground in Kingston. 

When the Reverend John Stuart came to Cataraqui he was the 
only clergyman in Upper Canada with a so-called "parish" extending 
from Point Baudet to the Thames River. For many years there 
were very few other clergymen in the Province. In the earliest days 
all the Protestants in Kingston worshipped together in the new 
barracks built by Ross on the site of the old French fort in which 
a room was fitted out as a chapel. Stuart had applied for an appoint- 
ment as Rector of Kingston and also as chaplain to the garrison. 
But it was several years before he received any money from the 
government in either of those capacities, and he supported himself 
by the farm which he worked in Kingston (it was on the site where 
Queen's University now stands), and with a £50 allowance from the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. He told 
the Bishop of Nova Scotia in 1788 that as soon as there was any 
question of collecting money from his parishioners to pay for his 
salary he discovered that the episcopalians were far outnumbered 
by the dissenters. This was indeed the case, especially outside 
Kingston. Stuart also said that the Loyalists expected to get their 
religion in the same way as they got their rations of flour and peas, 
as free issues from the government. 

Despite this vast majority of dissenters in the new settlements 
Stuart and other churchmen were anxious to establish the Church 
of England in Canada as it was established in England and they 
received powerful support from Lieutenant Governor Simcoe. Even 
before Simcoe arrived Stuart had been granted a salary of £100 per 
annum by the government in Quebec as the Rector of Kingston. 
From 1791, following a policy which had been begun with the Quebec 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 33 

Act of 1774, one-seventh of unallotted land was set aside for the 
support of the "Protestant" clergy. The Church of England claimed 
that, as it was the established church in England when the act was 
made, the clergy reserves were intended for its support and its 
support alone. This claim was naturally resented by the great 
majority of the population who belonged to other churches. 

Interdenominational strife was much more bitter then than it is 
now. It was irritated at that particular time by this question of the 
clergy reserves. The clergy reserves question was thorny because 
the large areas of undeveloped land hindered the economic develop- 
ment of the country- Yet, because of the amount of animosity arous- 
ed between religious groups, the problem proved difficult to solve. 
One critic described the reserves thus: "Like rocks in the ocean 
they glare in the forest, unproductive themselves, and a beacon of 
evil to all who approach them". The years from 1819 to 1825, when 
the Kingston cemetery question was being disputed were times of 
intense excitement about the reserves. The local problem had a 
direct connection with the larger issue, and a decision here might 
have been an important precedent. The Executive Council of the 
province favoured retaining them for the Church of England, while 
a majority in the Assembly championed the cause of the Presbyter- 
ians. To make matters worse, the Assembly had in 1816 passed an 
Act to abolish tithes (also a question related to the problem of the 
reserve.) but it did not become law until 1822, and the Assembly was 
naturally irritated by the delay. There is no wonder, then, that the 
Provincial government failed to act expeditiously on the question 
of the Kingston cemeteries and that the contestants were therefore 
brought to the brink of violence. 

In the townships near Kingston most of the settlers were 
Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians. They were at first served 
only by circuit-riding missionaries from the American Methodist 
Church. There was keen rivalry between the Church of England 
and the Methodists. The Reverend John Langhorne, sent out by 
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to aid Stuart, was 
established at Ernestown (Bath) and there waged an unremitting 
war against the dissenters. He embarrassed Stuart on one occasion 
by announcing that as marriages performed by ministers other than 
those of the Church of England were illegal, persons so married were 
free to marry someone else. Two Lutheran couples took him at his 
word and came to him to be remarried — with a switch in partners. 
On one occasion a Methodist preacher turned the tables on Lang- 
horne by stopping him in the street and asking him earnestly if he 
was saved. Langhorne also had frequent clashes with the Presby- 
terian minister at Frederickburg, Mr. McDowall. The Rector of 
Ernestown was a peculiar character- He was rigidly orthodox: and 
he caused quite a furore by excommunicating those of his parishion- 
ers who failed to come to communion. Stuart frequently reported 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 

to the S.P.G. that he was a continual source of embarrassment; but 
"H the end he said that the people were getting vised to his peculiar 
ways, so much so that if the Rector of Ernestown were to walk down 
the street naked they would take no notice. 

The right of performing marriages, over which Langhorne had 
wrangled with the dissenters, was another way in which the Church 
of England had virtually been established in Upper Canada. In 
1798 that church's exclusive position in that respect was modified 
when Lutheran and Calvinist ministers were given the right to take 
out a license to permit them to perform the marriage service. But 
members of other denominations, notably the Methodists who were 
growing in numbers, especially in the rural areas, had to repair to 
either an espicopal priest or a Presbyterian minister to get married. 

In Kingston itself the English church was much more firmly 
entrenched than elsewhere. This was probably because Kingston 
was a garrison town and there was a traditional alliance between the 
English church and the army. It was also no doubt due to the 
powerful personal influence of "the little gentleman", as John Stuart 
was affectionately called because he stood six feet four Two Metho- 
distical preachers had, indeed, attempted to invade Stuart's private 
reserve in Kingston in 1790. An Irishman named McCarty, who 
had no official Methodist affiliation, was driven from the town 
as a vagabond and disappeared in mysterious circumstances which 
caused him to become something of a Methodist martyr. The other, 
a well known Methodist pioneer named Lossee, failed to make any 
headway in the town itself and so withdrew to a remote area of the 
township, about five miles from the urban area, and there built a 
chapel. This was at a hamlet which later was called Waterloo and 
is now Cataraqui. To counteract his influence the Reverend John 
Stuart made a practice of going once a month to preach in that area 
on a week day. 

The Presbyterians had had an army chaplain on Carleton Island, 
the Reverend John Bethune, and he had probably come occasionally 
to Cataraqui in the first few months-But when the regiments were 
disbanded he went down to Montreal and then later returned to 
Glengarry county, where he built a church in 1787. Another Presby- 
terian, Robert McDowall, was located in Frederickburgh (Sandhurst) 
from about 1800. His register of births and marriages is now in the 
Queen's library. It contains a few names from Kingston between 
1800 and 1820 which show that he extended his ministry into the 
town. Significantly there are no entries for Presbyterian burials, 
either there or elsewhere. Apart from these, the only competitors 
John Stuart had were the Catholics who tried to set up a chapel as 
early as 1793 and who actually built the first stone church in the 
town in 1808. 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 35 

This survey of the religious history of early Kingston is neces- 
sary because it helps to explain the history of the old burial ground 
set aside for civil and military use by Major Ross The "glebe 
land", the one seventh clergy reserve, was up at the top of the Syden- 
ham Street hill in an area not at first developed. Moreover it seemed 
to be too shallow in soil for use as a graveyard. Therefore, the land 
marked out in 1783 continued to be used as the communal burying 
ground. Before the first St. George's was built in 1792, on the ground 
now occupied by the Whig-Standard building, a sexton had been 
appointed by a Vestry meeting of Stuart's church. He was paid 
sixpence a week to sweep out the barrack room used as a church. 
He was also instructed to dig graves in the churchyard, to collect the 
fees for interment, and to collect his own remuneration for digging 
the graves. As early as 1789 the churchwardens of the Church of 
England had turned their attention to the graveyard and arranged 
to enclose it with a paling fence. Later, between 1800 and 1810, the 
paling fence was replaced by a stone wall with a gate and a padlock. 
These cost St- George's church £120. 8s. 2^d. It was said later that 
the Reverend John Stuart realized that his church had no title deeds 
for this land and that, in co-operation with his foremost parishioner, 
the Honourable Richard Cartwright, an application was made for a 
proper title. If this is so, for some reason the deeds were never 
made out. Perhaps, as was afterwards believed, the matter seemed 
of small import in those early years. The churchyard though main- 
tained by the churchwardens of St. George's, was available for all 
Christians. There was no one likely to dispute the title. 

The War of 1812 brought a large increase in Kingston's popula- 
tion and soon created the need for more ground in which to inter 
the dead. The Catholics had probably begun, even before the war, to bury 
in the churchyard of their new church, St. Joseph's*, which was on the site 
of the present Notre Dame Convent. The cemetery was where the recrea- 
tion yard is now. From 1822 there was also a graveyard in connection with 
a "Union Church" built by a group of Protestant sects at the south- 
west corner of Barrie and Johnson. Some private burial grounds 
also came to be used. The Herkimers had one on the site of Ban 
Righ ; and I am told that there are gravestones in the yard of a 
house on the south-west corner of King and Lower William which 
may have been the site of another private cemetery. But the chief 
expansion of graveyard facilities came as the result of a petition made 
jointlv by members of the Church of England, the military, and the 
Roman Catholics about 1819. This led to the opening of the grave- 
j ard at the top of the hill where the Lions Park is now situated' 

The Methodists, Presbyterians, and other groups did not partici- 
pate in this petition and therefore received no part of the grant. 

j ..*o Roy ' p64 follows Horsey, and calls this church St. Joseph's. Both quote a tablet which 
read St. Columba, 9th June 1808". Brig. A. E. Ross History of St. Andrew's Church referred 
to St. Columbus" Church as the Catholic church in 1825. 

36 A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 

The former were not strong in the town of Kingston. A few 
English Methodists had come to Kingston immediately after the war, 
only to become involved in a bitter dispute with the American Metho- 
dists who had long been established in the country round about. 
The English Methodists were probably too deeply committed on that 
front to get engaged in another contest. Furthermore they tended 
to recruit from the poorer citizens; and they were not yet influential. 
They had no official recognition, not even that granted to Lutherans 
. and Calvinists in the Marriage Act of 1798. When they wanted land 
for a church in 1817 they had to pay for it. 'To him that hath shall 
be given"- The whole position of the Methodists in these religious 
rivalries at this time was summed up by a Presbyterian writer on 
the question of the clergy reserves by a cutting statement : the 
Wesleyan Methodists were, he said, as "obsequious as ever". 

But the Presbyterians were a very different group. Since the 
Marriage Act they could claim that their church had had some 
recognition in Canada. One or two Presbyterian ministers had been 
granted state salaries although usually only £50 as against the 
£100 granted to the Church of England parsons. Their Church was, 
of course, the established church of Scotland and they were able to 
argue that it was recognized by the Act of Union as an official 
established church in Great Britain. They therefore contended the 
Episcopal claim that when the acts of 1774 and 1791 referred to the 
support of "Protestant clergy" they meant only those of the establish- 
ed church and that that church was the Church of England. How- 
ever, it was rather awkward for their argument that the act of 1791 
also spoke of the setting up of "rectories" which were a purely 
episcopal institution. 

The law lords of England wrestled with this knotty problem in 
1819 and came up with a ruling which, as is often the case with 
legal decisions, at first seemed clear but on second reading left things 
much as they were. They ruled that the clergy reserves need not be 
confined to the Church of England only, but should be extended to 
the Church of Scotland. Other dissenters, however, had no claims 
upon them. This seemed fairly clear, but as they went on to say 
that the colonial government might, if it wished,' either divide the 
whole seventh in any particular township or give it all to the Church 
of England, the situation remained much as before. This equivocal 
decision in favour of the pretensions of the Presbvterians had been 
countered in the same year by an episcopalian demarche. Archbishop 
Mountain had persuaded the government to set up "clergy corpora- 
tions" in each district to administer the reserves. The Church of 
England was obviously determined to make good its claims to these 

fisTof Presb y terians in Kingston had not joined in the petition 
F 1819 for a common burying ground for a very good reason. Riding 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 37 

the tide of growing sentiment in favour of their having a share in 
the clergy reserves, they had already petitioned successfully in 1817 
for land on which to build a church, a manse, and for use as a grave- 
yard. Before they received it they had had to modify their petition 
and the proposed deed- They had had to omit the name of a Mr. 
Bidwell, who was an American, from the list of proposed trustees. 
And they had had to reword the proposed deed so that, as a member 
of the Upper Canada administration told them, it would "prevent, 
at a future day, these canting American scoundrels from obtaining a 
footing in the church". The new wording read, 'for the sole use 
of the Established Presbyterian Church at Kingston in communion 
with the established sister church in Great Britain". After these 
cautious amendments had been made the deed was issued on January 
30, 1818 and the foundation stone of St. Andrews was laid on July 
20, 1820. The following year a minister from Scotland was appoint- 
ed, the Reverend John Barclay. 

It had been intended to use the land close to St. Andrews church 
as a burying ground. Unfortunately it proved to be too shallow. 
Hence, at the end of 1822 the Reverend Mr. Barclay claimed the 
right to bury Presbyterians in the Episcopal Burying Grounds. He 
argued that the two churches were equally privileged and established. 
On January 10, 1823 Stuart told Barclay that while Presbyterians 
had a conditional claim to the privilege of interment in the graveyard 
it was not a right. He added that they could be buried there provided 
the Anglican services were used. Some time before this, perhaps as 
early as 1821, the key of the Lower Burying Ground had been put 
into the hands of the sexton ; and he was now given specific instruc- 
tions about funeral procedure. He was told that in the case of 
funerals of non-members of the Church of England the Rector would 
not proceed to the house of the deceased unless specially requested 
to do so, but would meet the funeral procession at the gates of the 

Feeling between the denominations in Kingston was at this 
time growing in intensity- At a St. George's vestry meeting on 
Easter Monday, March 31, 1823 it was laid down that charitable 
relief should be given only to destitute members of the church and 
impoverished strangers ; other paupers should be referred to the 
religious societies to which they belonged. Similarly the church- 
i wardens were instructed to pay for the interment of poor members 
of the church and of strangers, but not for the funerals of members 
of other churches. 

After the firm stand taken by Stuart on the question of Presby- 
lerian burials, four men met to discuss the situation. They were 
the Archdeacon, the Reverend William Fraser, the Roman Catholic 
priest of St. Columbus church, the Reverend John Barclay, and Mr. 
Tohn McLean, the Sheriff of the Midland District and an elder of 

38 A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 


St. Andrews. They agreed to petition for an extension to the upper 
burying ground which was apparently to be made available to the 
Catholics while the portion of that cemetery which had been given 
»\ agreement to the Catholics was now to belong to the Presbyter- 
ians. This was a perfectly reasonable solution. But it was not 
put into effect. The extra land requested entrenched upon the 
Clergy's block "C" on the town plot of Kingston and since the 
disposal of the clergy reserves had become a hot political issue the 
government preferred to do nothing. It is rather absurd that the 
fact that the land had been set aside for religious purposes prevented 
it from being used as a cemetery when the most powerful denomin- 
ations were able to agree upon its disposal for that purpose. 

As a result of this stalemate the Presbyterians decided to press 
their claims for the use of existing burial grounds. They directed 
their attack upon the older, or Lower, cemetery. In the first recorded 
case, the burial of a Mr. John Mitchell, the Reverend George Okill 
.Stuart was invited to the funeral and he read the burial service of 
his church at the graveside. On a subsequent occasion a child of 
Sheriff John McLean was to be buried- McLean invited the Arch- 
deacon to the funeral but, as he stated afterwards, only "as a friend". 
Stuart, however, met the procession at the Lower Rurial Ground 
pates, clad in his canonical robes. Mr. Barclav then requested him 
to step into a neighbouring house where he asked him if he intended 
!:o conduct the burial service. Upon being told that he did, Barclay 
replied that he would consent, provided the relatives of the deceased 
agreed. He then asked Sheriff McLean in the presence of the Arch- 
deacon, whether he wished his child to be buried with the rites of 
ihe Church of England or of Scotland. The answer was that he 
wanted the service of his own church. Mr. Stuart persisted that 
none but the burial service of the episcopal church could be used in 
the episcopal burying ground, and so Mr. Barclay, "to avoid on such 
an occasion all appearance of a collision, . . . after accompanying the 
corpse a certain distance, withdrew and the service was performed 
l.y Mr. Stuart". 

After this incident, Stuart sent Barclay a copy of the regulations 
iormerly issued to the Sexton concerning the burials in the graveyard. 
On December 30, 1824 Mr. Barclay replied in writing that these 
regulations could only apply to Church of England funerals and were, 
as far as other funerals were concerned, "nugatory", because the 
burying grounds had never been formally made over to any church 
:n particular. Stuart replied on January 3, 1825 that the regulations 
would be enforced and expressed regret that Barclay's letter did not 
conform with his former verbal acquiescence in the arrangements as 
laid down Five weeks later, on February 7, Barclay told Stuart that 
he had reported the recent unfortunate collision, "in relation to the 
interment of the child of John McLean, in which you read the burial 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 39 

service of your church", to the Attorney General who had suggested 
that the government should make arrangements for the disposal of 
the burying ground and that there ought to be a meeting between 
representatives of the two churches to arrange for the division of the 
land. Barclay therefore wanted to meet Stuart for this purpose in 
the court house. Stuart replied the next day to this letter by saying 
that he refused to divide up the burial ground and that a meeting- 
could be no more useful than a previous one had been. 

Now, since January 1, 1825 the Attorney General had been 
James Stuart, third son of the Reverend John, and brother of the 
Archdeacon. But it is nowhere made clear whether Barclay had 
communicated with James Stuart or with his predecessor, Mr. 

On February 28 Archibald McLean, brother of John took the 
matter up. Archibald was a member of the Legislative Assemblv 
lor Cornwall and a future Chief Justice. He forwarded to Major 
Hillier, the Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor and Council, a 
copy of a petition from the Kingston Presbyterians. It is not clear 
whether this was a new petition for a separate cemetery of their own 
or merely that earlier point petition for an extension which had been 
submitted in 1823. Archibald McLean described the dispute over the 
corpse of his brother's child and said that he was "the more anxious 
lor a decision on the subject, as our burial ground at Cornwall is 
precisely in the same situation as that at Kingston with this differ- 
ence, that Mr. Mountain had not on any occasion interfered, though 
he may feel himself justified in doing so hereafter by the example 
of Mr. Archdeacon Stuart". 

The Presbyterians were apparently determined to force the issue 
to a decision. On April 7 Mr. Barclay went to John Corbet, the 
Sexton of St. George's, and asked for the keys of the lower graveyard. 
He said that he wanted to select a site for a grave The Sexton 
demurred, whereupon Mr. Barclay went for Sheriff McLean who was 
admitted to the cemetery and who indicated the place where the 
grave was to be dug. Mr. Barclay then instructed the Sexton to 
open the gates of the graveyard at four o'clock on the next afternoon 
to admit a funeral. 

The minister next went to see Mr. William Chesnut, a black- 
smith. He asked him to attend at the graveyard prepared with tools 
to force open the gates if they were locked. Chesnut said that he 
would not want to do such a thing. But Mr. Barclay then told him that 
he had a ruling from the Attorney General in his favour: and so the 
blacksmith said that, although he would not be involved personally, 
he would send a man with tools. One wonders whether Chesnut 
was impressed by the reference to the Attorney General and assumed, 

40 A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 

rightly or wrongly as the case may be, that it was the Archdeacon's 
brother who had given the ruling. 

Meanwhile the sexton had reported the matter to the Archdeacon 
who told him to go ahead and dig the grave, and to open the gate, 
and that he would himself be present- The next afternoon Stuart 
awaited the funeral procession at the burial ground gate dressed, as 
before, in cassock and surplice. After a little while the funeral pro- 
cession appeared, coming down Grave Street (Queen Street). It 
was headed by the Minister of St. Andrews and by the Sheriff, John 
McLean. The corpse was attended by a large body of mourners, 
Episcopalians and Roman Catholics as well as Presbyterians- It is 
difficult not to believe that many had turned out to see the fun rather 
than out of respect for the dead. 

Stuart later reported what happened next to the Vestry Com- 
mittee. He said, "I met them at the grave where the Minister of 
St. Andrews assisted the bearer of the corpse in letting down the 
coffin into the grave and then directed the bearers to 'cover in'. The 
men immediately obeyed and threw in the earth. Amidst this inde- 
cent and profane procedure I commenced reading the Public Prayers 
of the Church of England in the Episcopal Burying Ground. The 
men, at the commencement of the prayers, were disposed to cease 
from their works when the Reverend John Barclay commended 
■them to 'go on'. The work was performed in a violent and hurried 
manner and I finished the reading of the prayers". 

Corbet, the Sexton, told a much more dramatic story. He said, 
"Mr. Stuart began reading the burial service, upon which Mr. 
Barclay took hold of one of the sticks which supported the body 
over the grave, drew it from under the coffin, and desired some 
, persons, who seemed to be in attendance for the purpose (one of 
them being provided with a shovel), to lower the body and cover 
it up as quickly as possible. This was accordingly done, and with 
more haste than is usual upon such occasions, notwithstanding the 
Archdeacon was then reading the usual prayers". He said that, 
before the prayer was concluded, the grave was nearly filled up. 

That evening Mr. Barclay left a note at Blacksmith Chesnut's 
shop. It read as follows: "The Revd- J. Barclay requests that Mr. 
Chesnut will send him his account for attendance today though his 
services were not required". I would like to know whether the 
account was rendered and the bill paid. 

Immediately after this incident in the graveyard, the Archdeacon 
sent Mr. Barclay a letter in which he said that, as the Governor-in- 
Council had granted to St. Andrews Church land for use as a burial 
ground along with the site of the church, all further burials of 
Presbyterians in the episcopal burying grounds would be refused. 
Mr. Barclay replied on April 13 that he must insist upon his right 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 41 

\to be admitted to the Episcopal Burying Ground for any member of 
his congregation. He went on, "If government shall decide that the 
grounds shall be vested in Trustees for the use henceforth of the 
Episcopal Church exclusively, I will set the example of submission 
to its decision. But in the present state of the question, those who 
may use force to prevent my congregation from getting admittance 
to bury their dead according to the rules of their church must be 
responsible for all evil that may result from it. I much regret that 
such unpleasant competition should have arisen, but I may not shrink 
from that duty which has devolved upon me in my official capacity". 

On April 9, the day following the clash in the churchyard, there 
was a special meeting of the St. George's Vestry. This meeting 
appears to have been arranged earlier to discuss matters concerning 
the building of the new church, the corner stone of which was laid 
on June 25. Although there was no reference in the minutes of this 
meeting on April 9 to the fracas which had taken place the day 
before, it appointed a committee to investigate the affairs. During 
the following week that committee took statements from witnesses; 
and it reported back to another special meeting of the Vestry on 
, April 16. Testimony had been taken to support St George's claim 
to control the graveyard. There were statements by old inhabitants ; 
there were the records of the collection of fees by the Sexton ; and 
there was the expense which the church had borne for maintenance. 
The Committee also took statements from witnesses of the clash in 
the Churchyard. These, however, consisted only of the not unbiassed 
testimony of the Rector and the Sexton. No evidence was obtained 
from any of the mourners, Episcopalian and otherwise, who had 
attended the funeral. 

In its report the committee congratulated Stuart on his dignified 
and calm bearing "when any appearance of anger on his part, or any 
command to desist issuing from his mouth, would have been the 
signal for the commencement of tumult or confusion". One is left 
to wonder whether the Archdeacon really did succeed in reading the 
funeral service at his usual speed in such dramatic circumstances. 
The committee pointed out that there was very little space in the 
Lower Burial Ground which was not already reserved for those who 
had friends and relatives interred there. If St. Andrews were to 
make good its claim to ecpial privileges, other dissenters would claim 
equal rights also, and "the control of our minister may be set aside 
and the feelings of families be distressed by and interference with 
the remains of their departed relations". As for the Upper Burial 
Ground, after what had been allocated had been divided with the 
Roman Catholics, what was left would be too small if all Protestants 
in Kingston were to have the right to be interred there. The Vestry 
therefore determined to petition the government in Toronto for 
patents for the control of both episcopal burying grounds, upper and 

4_> A Clash [n St. Paul's Churchyard 

I lis Excellency the Lieutenant Governor referred the matter to 
the Executive Council, but gave temporary control to the Rector of 
St. George's with the condition that members of other churches 
-In mid have the right to be interred "as heretofore" until a decision 
was reached. The Executive Council seems to have thought that 
the problem was too big for them to deal with, perhaps it was part 
of the much larger, and very inflammable question of the clergy 
reserves. There was actually some suggestion that the matter of the 
Kingston burying ground was to be referred to His Majesty's govern- 
ment in ( ireat Britain- When the Minister of St. Andrew's heard 
this, he wrote at once to the Lieutenant Governor to ask what he 
was to do with the "mortal remains of the deceased members of 
(my ) church until the pleasure of His Majesty's government . . . shall 
be made known from Great Britain". No doubt he was the more 
anxious since it was now early summer. He argued that the majority 
of the Protestants in Kingston were being excluded from the grave- 
yards by the minority and asked "Must the other, and by far the 
larger party, be at the serious expense of purchasing land at a very 
high rate . . . until an answer shall come from Great Britain? Or 
may we each be advised without collision to inter their own dead in 
these grounds under a protest from the other partv that nothing thus 
done in the meantime shall be construed into a decision of right on 
their part?" This sarcastic and somewhat ungrammatical but yet 
reasonable letter was apparently followed up shortly by one that 
was more realistic, namely a renewed petition for the grant of a 
burial ground for St. Andrews church. 

At last the authorities in Toronto were induced to act. Between 
May 7 and May 14 a piece of land adjacent to the L T pper Burying 
Ground was surveyed and granted to the Presbyterians. Hencefor- 
ward the three distinct parts of that cemetery were known as the 
English. Scottish, and Irish cemeteries. 

A word or two may be appropriate at this point about the 
further history of the cemeteries at Kingston. The cholera epidemic 
of 1832 and the typhus plague in 1847 severely taxed the existing 
accommodation in the graveyards. Indeed in the latter epidemic a 
large common grave was used to inter the remains of the miserable 
wretches who had brought the plague with them when they sought 
in the New World relief from their distress in the Old. This place 
is marked by a monument at the West end of the General Hospital- 
Between 1845 and 1847 St. Paul's church was built in the Lower 
Episcopal Burying Ground. If the graves then covered were marked 
in any way or if the bodies were removed elsewhere, the details have 
long been forgotten. A disastrous fire in 1854 which gutted St. 
-'aul's church may have been responsible for destroying the memor- 
ials. The Cataracpii Cemetery company was incorporated in 1850 
and the present cemetery was opened. (A small Methodist or Quaker 

A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 43 

vard had already existed at Waterloo for half a century). When the 
Upper Burying Ground was taken over for a park, the Catholics 
bes"an to use the cemetery on Division street and moved some of 
their dead from the old "Irish" cemetery to the new place. 

In 1863 a city by-law prohibited further interments within the 
city limits. It is of interest that one of the last persons to be buried 
in St. Pauls churchyard and one of the last in the city itself, was 
the Archdeacon Stuart who had fought so determined a fight to 
retain control of the Lower Burying Grounds. He was buried in 
the Stuart family enclosure which still exists. When Col. Long 
wrote his history of St. Paul's Church the tombstones of the Arch- 
deacon and his wife were still to be seen. But they are not there 
now, and I can find no one who remembers anything about them. 

A few points should be made about their unsavoury clashes in 
St- Paul's churchyard which, in our eyes, seems to have been a 
rather tragic profanation of the ceremonies connected with the bury- 

I ing of the dead. It will be noted that it was the result of interde- 
nominational rivalry and embittered by the dispute about the clergy 
reserves. However, this picture of religious rivalry must be qualified 
by reference to some examples of a more christian harmony. As we 
have seen, in the early years of settlement all worshipped together. 
The first Church of St. George was lent to the Catholics for worship 

.before they built their own church. The English Methodists received 
subscriptions for the building of their first chapel from Episcoplians, 
including the Archdeacon himself, and also from an anonymous giver 

Ivhey referred to as a "papist". In 1828 an Act of the legislative made 
it legal for churches of various denominations to hold land through 
trustees. In 1831 the ministers of various other dissenting churches 
were allowed to perform the marriage service. In 1832 grants were 
made to Methodists and Free Church Presbyterians out of the clergy 
reserves. In 1845 the total amount distributed in Canada west was 
divided in this proportion: Church of England £8728.17.8; Presby- 
terians £7363.7.10 and Wesleyans £1666.13.2 In 1854, however, the 
policy of secularization, which some of the reformers had begun to 
advocate, triumphed- 

It is clear that the collisions in the Kingston cemetery cannot be 
attributed merely to the unyielding temperament and intolerant out- 
look of Archdeacon Stuart even though I myself believe that he was 
a less broadminded and human man than his father. But he had a 
good case for the retention of the graveyard by the Church of St. 
George. It seems likely that the Presbyterians deliberately chose to 
try to force their way into the Lower Burying Ground in order to 
be provocative. That cemetery was then nearly full, it could be 
locked against them, the title of the Episcopalians to it was hallowed 
by time if not by written deed, and thev had spent large sums on its 

44 A Clash In St. Paul's Churchyard 

maintenance. The Presbyterians probably tried to force the issue 
of the Lower burial ground because that would bring on a head-on 
collision and force the question to an issue more quickly than a 
dispute about the Upper ground. On the other hand, it is also true 
that they had better grounds for advancing their claims in the Lower 
ground since, as in other U.E.L. burying grounds, precedents existed 
for common use of the cemetery. And as the upper burial ground 
had been recently granted in response to a particular petition by a 
special group, they had a poor case to claim rights on it 

On behalf of Mr. Barclay, it must be said that several of his 
ietters seem to suggest that he was being pushed from behind and 
that he felt it necessary to assert the rights of his church in order to 
justify himself in the eyes of his new flock. It is noticeable that 
Sheriff McLean turns up very frequently in the story. He appears 
\o have been the real aggressor. 

One last point remains. It would be interesting to know who 
was the unfortunate whose funeral service was thus deliberately 
desecrated-. Was it another of the large number of infants who 
filled the churchyards in those days of high infant mortality? Or 
was it some wretched pauper who, in his death, achieved a distinction 
he had never possessed in life, a funeral that was attended by the 
whole town. On that point the records are silent. 


NOTE: It is the intention of the editor to include in Historic 
Kingston, from time to time, documents which relate to the history 
of the community. 



(From the British Whig, issue of Tuesday, March 11, 1834.) 

On Friday evening a numerous and most highly respectable body 
of mechanics, interspersed with some few of the inhabitants of 
Kingston, assembled at McKay Tavern, to discuss the propriety of 
forming a Mechanics Institute. Some of the leading and old 
Mechanics of the town were not present, their absence being occasion- 
ed it is presumed from pique, in not being consulted previous to the 
calling of the meeting. The staying away was unkind ; they should 
have recollected that it is now three years since a Mechanics Institute 
has been in full operation at York, during which time, ample 
opportunity has been afforded them to establish a similar institution 
in Kingston, and if they have not thought proper so to do, they 
should not blame their younger tradesmen if they step forward to 
do that, which more properly belonged to them. Another cause why 
they were not consulted is, that neither of the two originators of the 
meeting, Mr. D. Urquhart or Mr. C. Sewell, has much personal 
acquaintance among his fellow tradesmen, or we make no doubt, that 
every concession would have been made to the opinions and wishes 
of the elder tradesmen. As it is, we trust that petty jealousies of 
any kind will be avoided and that the whole corps of mechanicals 
will muster strongly at the Court House on Friday evening next to 
receive the report of the Constitutional Committee and to elect the 
office bearers of the Infant Society. 

At a general meeting of the Mechanics and others friendly to 
the forming of a Mechanics Literary Institute, held pursuant to 
public notice, in McKay's Tavern. Kingston on Friday evening, the 
7th of March, 1834, Mr. Charles Sewell was elected chairman and 
William Lesslie, secretary. The Chairman having explained the 
object of the meeting, it was — 

I. Proposed by Mr. James Bryant, seconded by Mr. Cone; — 
That it is expedient to establish a Scientific and Literary 
Society to be called the Kingston Mechanics Institution- 

II. Proposed by Mr. D. Williamson, seconded by Mr. S. Harrison; — 
That a committee of twelve persons be nominated to draft a 
set of regulations for the government of said institution and 
that they report thereon to the adjourned meeting. 

4,, Documents 

III. Proposed by Mr. John McLeod, seconded by Mr. Cone; — 

That the said committee be instructed to inquire for an eligible 
room or place of meeting for the Institution and that they have 
power to receive names of persons wishing to become members 
and generally to do such other work as they may judge neces- 
sary for the welfare of the Institution. 

[V. The meeting elected the Committee of Twelve of the following 
persons; — Messrs. A. J. Fern, D. Urquhart, Francis M. Hill, 
Dr. Barker, William Lesslie, John Cullen, Charles Sewell, John 
Spence, John McLeod, Thomas Smith, John Butterworth and 
Simon Harrison. 

V. Proposed by Dr. Barker, seconded by Mr. Stewart; - 

That this meeting do now adjourn till next Friday evening at 
the Court House at half past six o'clock to receive the report 
of the Committee. 

VI. Mr. John McLeod having taken the chair, the thanks of the 
meeting was given by acclamation to Mr. Sewell for his able 
conduct as Chairman. 



(From the Minute Book of the Society) 

Senate Room 
Queen's College 
Kingston, 27th Oct. 1893 

A preliminary meeting of a few citizens interested in the 
formation of an Historical Society at the City of Kingston was held 
in the Senate Room, Queen's University, on Friday 27th Oct. 1893. 
Present. Very Rev. Dr. G. M- Grant, Very Rev. B. B. Smith; Rev. 
Dr. T. Griffith; R. M. Horsey, Esq., R. V. Rogers, Esq., G. M. 
Machar. Esq., Surgeon-Major Neilson ; A. Shaw, Esq., Professors 
G- Ferguson and A. Shortt ; Rev. Canon Spencer. 

Very Rev. B. B. Smith was appointed chairman and R. V. 
Rogers, Esq., Secretary. 

R. M. Horsey, Esq., submitted reasons why the Society should 
be formed when it was resolved to call a meeting of the citizens for 
Friday 10th November to be held in the City Council Chamber to 
take action as to the advisability of forming an Historical Society. 

R. M. Horsey was requested to prepare a paper for such meeting 
on the nature and requirements of such a society for this district. 

Professor G. Ferguson was also requested to prepare a paper on 
the early historical features clustering around this district. 

Documents 47 

Council Chamber 
Kingston, 10th Nov. 1893 

A meeting: of citizens favourable to the formation of an Histori- 
cal Society for this district was held in the Council Chamber City of 
Kingston, Friday, 10th November, 1893- Present - ■ Rev. Canon A. 
Spencer, Chairman ; and A. Shaw, Secretary ; Messrs. Dr. R. T. 
Walkem; Dr. Neilson; R. Meek; A. McNeil; Dr. Herald; Prof. G. 
Ferguson; Prof. A. Shortt ; H. Bawden ; Wm. Powers; Col. Cotton; 
Aery Rev- B. B. Smith; R. M. Horsey; R. S. Dobbs ; J. McArthur; 
R. V. Rogers ; W. S. Ellis ; J. George ; R. K. Row ; Rev. S. Houston ; 
D. Gibson ; Jas. Cockrane ; Ettinger ; T. G. Shanks and others. 

Prof. G. Ferguson gave an address on the early colonization of 
Canada and events surrounding the City and district, referred to 
Frontenac, La Salle and many other distinguished parties who 
occupied important trusts during the early days of this district- 
Mr. R. M. Horsey addressed the meeting on reasons why such 
a society should be formed dwelling more on its later history with 
the places of honour held in the country by Kingston's illustrious 

Dr. R. T. Walkem referred to the formation of the society so 
that documents might be preserved which otherwise might be lost 
and which materially bear upon the history of our country — after 
which it was moved by Dr. R. T. Walkem, seconded by Mr. R. M. 
Horsey that an Historical Society be formed at this City — Carried. 

Moved by Dr. Herald, seconded by A. Shaw that the following 
gentlemen be a committee to draft a constitution and report on Friday 
evening 24th inst in this Council Chamber at a meeting to be called 
by advertisement for that purpose — carried. Dr. R. T. W r alkem ; 
Dr. Neilson; R. M. Horsey; R. V. Rogers; Dr. Herald; Very Rev. 
B. B. Smith; Wm. Powers; Prof. G. G- Ferguson and Prof. A. Shortt. 

A. Shaw 

(NOTE: A meeting was held in the Council Chamber on 4th November, 1893. 
and a constitution was adopted on the motion of Prof. A. Shortt. The following 
officers were then elected: President, Very Rev. B. B. Smith; 1st Vice President, 
Hon. M. Sullivan; 2nd Vice President, Rev. S. Houston; Corresponding Secretary, 
Prof. A. Shortt ; Recording Secretary and Treasurer, A. Shaw ; Members of 
Council, R. T. Walkem; Surgeon-Majur Neilson; Rev. Canon A. Spencer; Prof. 
G. Ferguson and R. M. Horsey. The minutes then continued — ) 

Moved by Surgeon-Major Neilson, seconded by Prof. G. Fer- 
guson, supported by Dr. R. T. Walkem and Prof. A. Shortt and 
resolved, That the Historical Society of Kingston has learned with 
sentiments of very deep regret of the death of Francis Parkman 

48 Documents 

whose magic pen and indomitable industry produced a series of most 
fascinating volumes depicting the early history of our country. That 
the sympathy of this Society be tendered to the family of this great 
historian and sincere friend of Canada- And that a copy of this 
resolution be communicated to the family of the deceased. 

Moved by R. M. Horsey, seconded by Rev. Canon A. Spencer, 
that Prof. A. Shortt be recmested to read the first paper for the 
society at the regular meeting in January, 1894. Carried. Prof. 
Shortt consented to deliver an address at the time mentioned, subject 
"Condition of Europe in last half of sixteenth century during the 
discovery of Canada." 

Moved by Dr. R. T. Walkem, seconded by Mr. R. M- Horsey 
that the next meeting of the society be held in the Council Chamber. 

All present being eligible for membership the following gentle- 
men registered their names and paid their fees and became members 
of the Kingston Historical Society, viz. Mr. R. M. Horsey; Surgeon- 
Major Neilson ; Rev. Canon A. Spencer; Neil McNeil; Prof. G. Fer- 
guson ; Prof. A- Shortt ; James McArthur ; Wm. Powers ; W. G. 
Ellis; Very Rev. Dean Smith; Mr. Wm. Neish. 

Membership fees received $11.00. 

No other business being before the society, it was declared 

Buxton B. Smith A. Shaw- 

President. Secretary. 



(From John Balmcr's manuscript autobiography. Reproduced by per- 
mission of his granddaughter, Mrs. O. O. IVorden, and Mr. H. P. 
Gundy. Librarian. Queen's University). 

NOTE: John Balmer was born in Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland, March 
8th, 1819. After enlisting in the British Army in 1839, he served in the Mediterranean 
area. Greece, Corfu and Gibraltar. In 1845 he was transferred to Jamaica and in 1848 
to Halifax. Nova Scotia. In April, 1850, Balmer volunteered for the Royal 
Canadian Rifles. He then moved to St. John's, Canada East, where he married 
Margaret Ann Carey in July, 1851. Their first son, William John, was born here 
in 1852. In 1853 Balmer was transferred to Kingston, Canada West. He described 
his life here as follows : — 

"In the summer of 1853 we moved from St. John's here to the 
'Lime Stone City'. On September 2nd of this year, our second son, 
Robert Henry, was born in Fort Henry." 

"On June 7th, 1855, our third son was born. We intended to 
call him Francis Stewart; but before he was christen* 1 his brother 

Documents 49 

William John, died, so he got his deceased brother's name 'William 

"He was baptized a few months after by the celebrated Reverend 
Dr. Douglas. Robert H. was baptized by Reverend Father Dowse. 
1 must not forget that in '54 we were visited at Kingston with a 
severe grip of Cholera (Asiatic). A large number died. They were 
attacked with cramps and black vomit ! Each man sick had two men 
rubbing him to help ease the cramps. When one died he was 
ordered by the Doctor immediately to be buried ; if married his wife 
was not allow d to see him. 1 knew several married men who went 
on guard duty in the morning in good health and took sick, died and 
were buried — the wives never seeing them! How sad! When the 
disease was kill' 1 by strong medicine the man too was all but kill d . 
The patients had to be kept from sleeping for some time lest if 
allowed to fall asleep they might never awake. I took sick myself 
and knowing what was the matter I walked straight to the Hosp 1 and 
was put to bed. The Doctor sent me a close by the steward who said 
'Take this it will cure or kill you !' I drank it and within an hour 
I felt it warm me from head to feet and in another hour I was well, 
got up and was allow d to go home all right. I had neither cramps 
nor 'Black Vomit'. I was not afraid. Fear helps to make people 

"In 1856 I was appointed commander of a Boat Party at Cedar 
Island, a very short distance from Fort Henry. Our duty was to 
arrest any soldier attempting to desert- Katie was born on this 
Island, 6th Jan-\ 1857. This was a very mild winter. The duty of 
the Boat party at night was to "patrol" over the ice on the Bay, but 
one night we were near patroling under the ice - it broke letting 
some of the men in the water. They scrambl d out on the ice again 
and I took them home and bidding farewell to ice patrol for the 
remainder of the winter, we walked about on Terra Firma. I had a 
good time nursing my new-born and only daughter, Katie. She was 
baptized by Reverend Dr. Douglas. Her voice was not so musical 
then as it is now. I don't mean to say she was cross, not at all. 
She was a sweet, good child." 

"One night during the summer of '56 a great sight appeared on 
the Lake south of the Island. It was a steamer on fire! coming with 
the current, burning to the water's edge and grounded on the south 
end of the Island. The Capt" and crew all had taken to the Boats 
and escaped, no lives lost. The owners or insurance agents appeared 
soon and took away all that was worth taking." 

"I forgot to mention a great and glorious time we had here in 
Kingston celebrating the 'Fall of Sebastopol' in 1855, shortly after 
William John's birth. The city was illuminated! and a Splendid 

50 Documents 

display of Fire Works at night. A complete uproar of joy took hold 
if all classes of the community- The Brigade Major eall d 'Town 
Major', gave the 'Time' (with the cock d hat in hand) for the cheering! 
He was about the size and shape of Aid. Baxter. He swung round 
the cock' 1 hat and Hip! Hip! Hip! Horrah peeled forth, followed by 
the whole City! The Major shouted come! Let them hear you at 
Cape Vincent! Hip! Hip! Hip! Horrah! 

"Iu all military rejoicing there is another side to the Question. 
There were many lives lost and many sad widows and orphans made 
to mourn the loss of Husband and Father! Our own joy was not 
unmixed with sorrow at the then apparent loss of our dear first born 
Son. He was not for God took him." 

"We had had William John for a walk on a beautiful afternoon. 
He took suddenly ill and had to be got home. He was sick at the 
stomach and brain affected. Doctor said it was 'Sun Stroke' and 
ordered his beautiful hair to be cut. His mother would not disfigure 
his beautiful curls- He kept raving in mind and finally fell into 
'convulsions' and was insensible two or three days with frequent 
fits and finally pass' 1 away (home) with little suffering." 

"At this time the Grand Trunk Ry- along as far west as Kingston 
and on towards Toronto and Hamilton was being built. There was 
great business on the Lakes before the Grand Trunk and other 
Railways came in use." 

NOTE: In 1857 there was a call for volunteers for Fort Garry and Balmer made 
the journey to the west, where he remained until 1861 when he returned to St. 
John's, Canada East. In 1864, his time having expired, Balmer took his discharge 
and went to Hamilton, moving in 1870 to Toronto where he was appointed superin- 
tendent of the "Toronto Necropolis". He died in Oshawa. 




Air Commodore D. A. R. Bradshaw, DFC, CD, ADC 
W. J. Henderson, Esq., M.P. 
Dr. W. A. Mackintosh, C.M.C. 
Hon. W. M. Nickle., M.P.P. 
Mayor C. C. Wright 


Lt.-Col. Courtlandt M. Strange 


Lt.-Col.. H. E. Pense 
Ronald Way, Esq. 
Dr. R. A. Preston 


Dr. George F. C. Stanley 


Mrs. W. C. Simmons 


Mrs. Wm. Angus 

Miss Mary Chambers 

H. P. Gundy. Esq. 

Lt.-Col. S. M. Poison 

V. Ready, Esq. 

Bogart W. Trumpour, Esq. 

(Membership $1.00 — includes subscription to Historic Kingston 

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no. 5 

Historic Kingston 



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